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Rejected by relatives, 400 stay in Taif mental hospital

THE LEVANT – Spokesman for Health Affairs Siraj Al-Hemaidan said there are 400 mental patients in the city’s mental hospital whose families have refused to accept them.

He told Al-Hayat daily that these patients have been provided with the proper treatment and their conditions have greatly improved, and medical teams have decided that their condition is stable enough for them to be released from the hospital and be integrated into society.

“Patients are provided with the appropriate treatment and the proper instructions are relayed to their families on medicine usage and ways to deal with them. Patients are not released if their conditions necessitate that they remain at the hospital,” he said.

Al-Hemaidan explained that integrating these patients in society is an important part of their treatment, and after they leave, they are visited by medical teams who follow up on their condition, and in case a patient’s condition does not stabilize, he is admitted back to the hospital.

Some families fear that these patients are in need of constant medical care and refuse to accept them, and the hospital has no choice but to discharge them. Many end up on the streets.

Professor of criminology at King Saud University in Riyadh, Dr. Mohammad Al-Wehaib, said there are around 30,000 mental patients in the capital, and such a large number is very difficult for the police to monitor.

The head of the National Society for Human Rights, Dr. Mufleh Al-Qahtani, explained that the government has lately entrusted the Ministry of Health to monitor mental patients and provide them with the necessary treatment and housing.

“Enough mental hospitals will be established in various parts of the Kingdom to receive mental patients. Families are often the first victims of mental patients and they are the most affected by them so we cannot put the blame on them entirely,” he said.

An earlier report by the Human Rights Commission called upon the authorities to improve the capacity of public and private hospitals as well as mental health institutions in order to treat more patients.

The report said the mentally ill are one of the most disadvantaged groups in the country and their rights are not well-protected.

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