Alvi for collective efforts to address mental health issues



President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday said that mental health illness was a major challenge and it required an integrated approach by all stakeholders, including relevant Ministries, Prime Minister’s Secretariat, NGOs, psychiatric associations and civil society to cater to the mental health needs of the country.

He highlighted that 24 percent population of the country was suffering from some form of mental health issues that needed immediate attention of the government, health professionals, civil society organizations, and the media.

The President expressed these views while chairing a follow-up meeting on mental health, at Aiwan-e-Sadr here.

Head of Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit, Salman Sufi and representatives of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society and Taskeen Health Initiative attended the meeting via video link. Country Director of WHO, Dr Palitha Mahipala, President of Pakistani-American Psychiatric Association of North America, Muhammad Zeeshan, Consultant at the National Commission for Human Rights, Ghulam Murtaza, representatives of Pakistan Psychological Association and senior officials of the government were present during the meeting.

The participants emphasized the need for a collaborative care model to provide services to the people suffering from mental health issues.

Salman Sufi briefed the meeting about the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat to launch Humraaz, a platform to access mental health services and a Mental Health Helpline to assist people affected by mental health illnesses. He informed that 140 psychiatrists had been registered as yet to provide relevant mental health services and counselling to people suffering from mental health problems. He further informed that the Prime Minister would launch the Mobile App/Web portal and 1166 toll-free helpline on March 23, 2023.

Speaking on the occasion, the President underscored that all programs and initiatives with regard to mental health issues needed to be combined to help address mental issues in the country.APP