Somaliland people have gone through very difficult times characterized with indiscriminate massacre, displacement and destruction of the whole country as a result of civil war and its consequences. As a result, mental health disorders exacerbated, but no adequate diagnostic services were put in place to better tackle with this problem due to limited government capacity and absence of external support.
The mental health units of the different public hospitals in Somaliland unfortunately lag behind the physical health units of the same hospitals. The inadequate facilities and services in mental health units rendered the situation of mental health services marginalised and being the Cinderella of health services in Somaliland. In response, Somaliland Mental Health Support Organization (SMHSO), a non-profitable charity organization based in the UK, has been established to examine the needs of the mentally challenged people living in all Somaliland regions through the provision of the necessary support accordingly.
As an integral part of its priority intervention strategy aiming at improving the mental health facilities and services in Somaliland , SMHSO laid the stone for the construction of 18 rooms with 3 latrines for the Mental Health Division of Hargeisa Group Hospital. This Mental Health Unit consists of 15 emergency units for receiving the newly admitted patients and 3 rooms for administration, pharmacy and security purposes. Currently, the hospital accommodates 90 mentally challenged patients of whom 33% are women. However, the overall building was not rehabilitated for a long time; while hygiene and sanitation among other necessary facilities are not adequate or almost missing. Thus the current situation of this hospital needs immediate attention to improve it.
The event was held on 13th of April with the presence of the Minister of Health Dr. Saleban-Haglatosiye along with other senior officials from the Ministry of Health including the Director of Mental Health Unit and the acting Director of Hargeisa Group Hospital. In addition, members from the SMHSO in Somaliland and 2 member delegation (Adam Yusuf and Faisal Ali from SMHSO in Cardiff, religious leaders, community representatives and the media people attended the stone laying ceremony.
The construction of the Unit is costing around USD 85, 000 and will be financially supported by SMHSO through organizing fundraising platforms inviting all Somaliland people, wherever they are, to make financial contribution.
Therefore, SMHSO would like to call for all well-wishers and respectable Somaliland citizens in the diaspora and within the country to make generous donations. No doubt this Unit will significantly improve the lives of the people living with mental health problems by pioneering and sustaining effective mental health services through facilitating access to resources, community integration, building resilience and supporting recovery from mental illnesses.