Bulawayo High Court

A BULAWAYO High Court judge has bemoaned the increase in murder cases committed by mentally-challenged people in the province.

Officially opening the first circuit of the Hwange High Court yesterday, Justice Christopher Banda-Dube urged society to take mental illness seriously.

Dube’s sentiments came after four accused persons were referred for mental examination under section 28 of the Mental Health Act.

“There is also a disconcerting phenomenon of violent deaths at the hands of mentally-disordered persons.

“The community in which these people live have a part to play in arresting this tide.

“Communities must quickly identify persons living with mental illness and encourage and support them to access effective treatment as soon as possible,” Dube said.

He said communities should ensure that persons with mental illness do not access alcohol and dangerous drugs as a way of reducing incidents of violence.

“In my view, these measures might reduce incidents of violent deaths caused by persons with mental illness.

“In the main, it is family members, friends and the communities in which they live that are at risk of the violence perpetrated by persons with mental illness.

“It is important that they be at the forefront of helping them.

“They need our assistance, and let us all make it our responsibility to help them.

“Let’s ensure they do not have access to alcohol and dangerous drugs” Dube said.

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