Chainama Hills Mental Hospital staff members have bemoaned the lack of enough space in the facility.
Veronica Miyayi, a psychiatrist at the institution said the facility was built to only accommodate 500 patients but the number of patients in the facility has risen to over 1, 000 over the years.
She said that even though small units have been put up in all districts, Chainama Hills Mental Hospital is still crowded because critically sick patients from all over the country are transferred to the facility for better care.
She added that there is a shortage of staff members to cater for thousands of mental patients admitted to the facility.
“Being the only mental facility, there has been a shortage of trained personnel too. There are only two psychiatrists attending to the patients when there should be at least eight qualified psychiatrists” said Miyayi.
She said in some instances patients are only admitted for three days due to lack of space in the facility and staff.
Miyayi called on the relevant authorities to find a solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Professor Lackson Kasonka said they are expanding the mental facilities and have commenced the works at Ndola central hospital.
Prof. Kasonka attributed the shortage of space and staff to the increase in mental health awareness.
“For a long time we have not prioritized mental health, it is only now that we have priotised mental health as an important element of our health care services and that is why you are seeing mental health facilities becoming small,” Kasonka said.
He added that the government is ensuring that the decentralisation policy applies also to the expansion of mental health facilities in all provinces.
He called on the public to take mental health seriously and report cases of mental health to the psychiatric wings available.