MENTAL ILLNESS: INCREASING TREND IN TODAYS PAKISTAN

Recently people have been talking about mental illness a lot. The more it is shared, the more people have started to take it seriously as before the time being, most of the people, and especially parents did not take it seriously and felt like their children were acting strange on purpose. In the recent years, even the universities and other institutional departments have developed the mechanism to have a campus counsellor in the institution so that the students with mental illness could feel safe and know that there is someone who would understand there situation. It has led to the concept of ‘Psychotherapy’ where people can talk out easily without being judged and open up their perspectives when others talk about different dimensions to a situation.

Mental illness has been increasing in Pakistan with each day passing by. In the past few years, it has been seen to be emerging mostly in teenagers and young adults of Pakistan which include 5 basic disorders of Depression, Bipolar Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, Substance misuse and Addiction, and Schizophrenia.

As a matter of fact, there are 14 million people in Pakistan who are left undealt with moderate psychiatric illness, mostly that include the ratio of women overall which makes it approximately 10-16% of the Pakistani population. There is only one psychiatrist of about 10,000 people that are dealing with mental illness and on the other hand, there is only one psychiatrist that is dealing 4 million of children that have mental illness or disorders. In the present age, where excessive mental illness problems are witnessed, there are only 4-5 psychiatric hospitals for the population of 21 million people of Pakistan.

Narrowing it down, the theme for the previous year of Mental Illness Day was ‘Depression” on 10th of October. Even if there are effective treatments that are available to deal with the mental illness disorders, there are still 370 million of people belonging from all communities. Pakistan out of most of the countries have a common rate of depression varying from province to province that includes Sindh 17%, Punjab 10%, Balochistan 40% and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 5%. But out of all the cities, Lahore has the highest rate of depression that is 53.4% as compared to all the other cities.

Mental illness is the main reason of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The patients are discriminated and the families avoid having mental help and even if they choose to do so, they try to go to the traditional religious healers who actually convince that there is no mental illness but spirit possession in the person. All of this could be prevented if enough awareness is given to the people through different means, and by that it means starting off by newspapers basically.

Contributor: Komal Ahmed & Tehsien Dilnawaz

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