Last week, Honiara celebrated the Mental Health day at the National Referral Hospital.

In his speech, the National Referral Hospital's Mental Health consultant, Dr. Paul Orotaloa stated that the statistic report for last year showed that Solomon Islands has 167 cases of mentally ill people, a big jump from the records of previous years.

"About 80 to 90 percent of the mentally ill are between the ages of 20 and 30 and the majority are youths...and it is likely that the number the mentally ill cases will constantly increase in the years to come.

"There is not one cause of mental illness. Depression, alcohol and drug abuse contribute to the causes of mental illness. It depends on a person's life style and his or her choices," he says.

He also revealed that the Acute Care Unit for the Mental Health in Honiara has only four beds and "with the number of mental illness increasing in Honiara, we need funding from donors to help us build a bigger Acute Care Unit for such people."

According to Dr. Orotaloa, celebrating Mental Health day should be a national priority to create awareness on the disease and to work on mechanisms to tackle the disease.

He also said that according to prediction from the World Health Organization, mental health will keep on increasing at an alarming rate.

Solomon Times also spoke to some members of the public regarding the growing problem of mental health within the Solomons.

"Mental health has recently become a major problem. Many of those who are mentally ill have recently become violent and this is very serious as they tend to hurt innocent citizens often causing serious harm," says Malian Korua from Vura 2.

"I thank the organizers of the Mental Health Day, as it gives us a lot more information on this disease. It is a disease that can be avoided and i hope people would take more care. I realize that a lot of these cases are a result of drug abuse and this is very worrying. Youths need to make better decisions and be positive to help them avoid the consumption of drugs," says Peter Rokoia'e of Koa Hill.