Rabat – Around 340,000 Moroccans are suffering from schizophrenia, according to a report published by Chams and Sila, two Moroccan non-profit organizations for the promotion of mental health in Morocco.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder characterized by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self, and behavior. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, abnormal behavior, disorganized speech, and disturbance of emotions.
The study showed that 75% of Moroccan families with a schizophrenic relation don’t really understand the illness. As many as 25% of those households believe that schizophrenia is caused by supernatural reasons, such as witchcraft and djinns (ghosts).
About 70% of Moroccans suffering from schizophrenia have visited or were taken to visit traditional healers, herbalists, or fqihs.
The report also mentioned that only 11% of Moroccans believe that schizophrenic people need to stay in mental health facility.
The numbers presented in the report give an insight into the situation of people suffering from mental illnesses in Morocco.
Awareness about mental health among the Moroccan population is still very low. A large number of Moroccans still link mental disorders to superstitious beliefs.
The Moroccan organizations published the report in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day, last Thursday, October 10.
Chams and Sila also published the study in preparation for the upcoming Profamille Conference 2019 in Marrakech. Profamille is an international programme that aims to teach people the ways to help their family members suffering from schizophrenia.
The conference that will take place on November 21 and 22 will serve as a launching ceremony for the programme in Morocco. The Chams and Sila associations act as local partners of the programme in Morocco.
The event will be open to the public, with preregistration, and it will include presentations and workshops around mental health hosted by doctors, professors, and educators.