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Mental Health Fears Fed By Somali 'Khat' Culture

Issue 320
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Rayale Imposes New Restrictions On Press Freedom

NEC Announces Tender For Supply Of Voter Registration Equipment And Material

Thirst In Wajaale

Sool Election Commission Sworn

Somali Islamist Fighters Seize 2nd Town

QARAN’s Letter To The Representatives Of The International Community

Pentagon Says Somalia Air Strike Targeted Terrorist Suspect

'Muslims are being massacred': Dobley mayor

Somali Capital Reportedly on Brink of Starvation

Brussels Wants US To Protect Hirsi Ali

Revealed: trap that lured the merchant of death

The perception of gender in education

US State Dept Daily Press Briefing

The Era of the Coward Warriors

Regional Affairs

Aman, A Magazine Published By Women For Women

Girls’ Education Will Shape Progress For Somalia Says UNICEF

Uganda short of money to boost Somalia force

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Latin American Crisis "Made In The USA

IOM’s Busatti: We’re fighting the ugly face of globalization

African war crimescourt would also consider trying alleged Russian arms dealer

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Somaliland Residents Express High Hopes for Independence

Why AFRICOM Is Critical For Our Security Interests

How To Start Your Own Country In Four Easy Steps

Missing Ex-Supermodel Found In Brussels

Mental Health Fears Fed By Somali 'Khat' Culture

Rapid Increase In Radio And TV Channels In Africa, Says New Report

We are not that bad, are we?

Food for thought

Opinions

Educational Collaboration Between Somaliland & South Africa

Wearisome Time for the Emerging Nation of Somaliland

Silanyo’s whined to Dr. Frazier is an indicative of a larger slump

Obama Barrack, Arabs & Muslims on the middle name

KULMIYE Party Dilemma: Why it’s getting difficult for Kulmiye chairman to hold the party convention?

Double standard policies of funding agencies ( The case of Somaliland Red crescents Society)


By Gemma Collins

London, March 7, 2008 – FEARS were raised this week over chewing the Khat plant which could be causing mental health problems in East London's Somali community.

Primary Care trust bosses have begun research at Tower Hamlets over the growing number of Somalis being admitted to hospital with mental illness caused by the weed.

The Somali Mental Health forum's chairman Abdi Hassan believes the popularity of Khat, a green leaf shrub which originates from the Somali homeland in the Horn of Africa and in the Arabian peninsular, could be behind the problem because it is popular among Somali men.

"People don't realize the real effects of it," he told the Advertiser.

"It's used in Somalia by people wanting to stay awake to study.

"But here in Britain it's a way of socializing.

"Originally it was only popular with those over 40, but now it's getting to young people, even though they haven't grown up on it."

Khat is legal in Britain and is believed to be available from traders in East London for only £4 a bunch.

It has similar effects to amphetamine and chewing it makes people feel more alert and talkative.

But using it excessively can eventually cause paranoia and psychotic reactions.

Mr. Hassan added: "This research is crucial as it will bring to light the areas where the Somali people most need help, then priority can be given to meeting those needs."

A complete ban on Khat was being urged this week at the Town Hall.

Tower Hamlets councilor Ahmed Omer, who is calling for a total restriction, said: "It should have been banned long ago.

"Many members of the community get frustrated by the lack of integration, so they turn to Khat.

"But there definitely needs to be more education on its effects. Usually we end up with nothing being done."

The primary care trust is now working with the Somali Mental Health forum to look at post traumatic stress disorder and the use of Khat in the Somali community.

gemma.collins@archant.co.uk

Source: East London Advertiser


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