10-16% Pakistanis suffered from mental illnesses: Sharmila

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Pakistan Peoples Party Sindh MPA Sharmila Farooqui said on Saturday that Pakistan’s 10 to 16% population suffered from mild to moderate mental illnesses; therefore, the federal government should provide special funds to all the provinces to tackle these diseases amid Covid-induced health crisis.

“As Sindh government has kept health sector among its top three priorities and raised health care funds to record level to tackle diseases, including metal ones, the federal government should allocate special funds for mental healthcare and research on the mental health issues and their solution in the country,” said Sharmila in a statement issued on the World Mental Health Day being observed on 10 October 2021.

“Pakistan has only one psychiatrist for every 10,000 persons suffering from any of the mental disorders, while one child psychiatrist for four million children, who are estimated to be suffering from mental health issues. Only four major psychiatric hospitals exist for the population of 180 million and it is one the major factors behind the increase in the number of patients with mental disorders,” she said, referring to a report.

Sharmila further said that the federal government should also strengthen institutional good governance and offer advanced trainings to medics besides incorporating psychological interventions as part of healthcare system amid covid, adding it should also introduce psychological crisis intervention program to mitigate the psychosocial and mental health impact from COVID-19 and other social issues timely, effectively and efficiently.

The PPP MPA said that the federal government also needs to enhance funds for research on the mental health issues and their solution in the country besides strengthening institutional good governance and offering advanced training to medics. She said that the federal government should incorporate psychological interventions as part of the healthcare system amid covid, adding it should also introduce psychological crisis intervention programs to timely, effectively and efficiently mitigate the psychosocial and mental health impact of COVID-19.

Sharmila said: “The theme of the 2021 World Mental Health Day is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”.

Factors linked to anxiety, depressive disorders and other mental health problems are low level of education, financial difficulty, relationship problems, arguments with husbands and relational problems with in-laws, Covid situation, basic health problems, political instabilities, lawlessness, terrorism, economic disparity, problems with security, safety, gas and electric load shedding, and last but not least escalating prices of petrol, gas, and other essential commodities.”

She said that the COVID-19 pandemic had added a major impact on people’s mental health. Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, had been particularly affected while services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders had been affected due to Covid-induced healthcare crisis.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and make a contribution to the community; therefore, it is need to improve this sector, she concluded.

 

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