Lawmakers in Egypt have passed the country’s first new mental health legislation in more than 60 years. The new law sets time limits for patients’ cases to be reviewed, allows them a greater say in their treatment and sets extra safeguards for those brought to the hospital involuntarily. The government wants to initiate community based mental health care.
Nabila Said is in her 40s and has spent 22 years at Abbasiya. She remembers being brought to the hospital after a road accident. Nowadays, she takes few psychiatric drugs but since her husband left her there is nowhere else for her to live. “Although I have a sister and brother they cannot accept me and each of them has their own family,” she says.
The old laws in Egypt assumed patients would be locked away in an asylum indefinitely. Now seven out of 10 are stabilised with medical treatment and many can go home. Patient rights groups have welcomed the new legislation, but misconceptions about mental illness and safety concerns mean the public may be harder to win over.
Pray for advocates for those with mental health struggles; for compassion in society; for Christians to lead the way in caring for those with mental illness; for the mentally ill to receive life and wholeness in Jesus.
Story source: BBC news