Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital is intensifying efforts to mitigate the effects of mental health problems, a condition linked to a number of causes including substance abuse, trauma, diseases and heredity.

The institution intends to renovate its psychiatry unit infrastructure and move with speed in converting Portlet Clinic, some 15 km away into a half way home where stable mental patients can be sheltered while being further rehabilitated.

To this end, the hospital undertook a mental health awareness and fund raising campaign which involved a walk by stakeholders from Lions Den to Chinhoyi, a distance of 20 km.

Medical Superintendent Dr Collet Mawire said medicines for mental health patients are expensive and usually unavailable , with patients supposed to get treatment for free.

He added that the family unit has often stifled efforts to rehabilitate patients by withdrawing responsibility over mentally challenged relatives.

The hospital has taken care of one patient since 2004 as relatives are not turning up to collect her.

In a speech read on her behalf, Public Service Minister Cde Prisca Mupfumira called for concerted efforts in helping those with mental health challenges instead of shunning them.

She also deplored the abuse of drugs saying substances are only useful when used properly to treat ailments.

Mental health relates to deviance in one’s cognitive capacities resulting in one failing to comprehend realities.

The main causes of the condition are drug abuse, medical conditions like meningitis and cerebral malaria, heredity and old age among others.