President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday suggested that a committee might be constituted by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination on mental health to provide mental health counselling and services to the people who were facing mental health issues or disorders.
The committee comprising members from the public and private stakeholders might brainstorm different ideas, benchmark local and international best practices and to come up with a comprehensive plan, the president suggested.
He expressed these views while chairing a meeting on mental health, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release.
Addressing the meeting, the president said that Pakistan had limited resources to cope with the burden of mental health as an estimated 80% of people with mental health needs remain untreated.
He stressed that there was a need to increase the pool of psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors on a top priority basis to ensure the reach of mental health services to the targeted population, especially to the unprivileged persons in underserved areas of the country. He further observed that ensuring good mental health and resolving the mental health issues of the people of Pakistan at the early stages would help increase the productivity of the nation.
The meeting was attended by members of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), World Health Organization (WHO), Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS), Taskeen Health Initiative, officials of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, and other organizations working on the issue of mental health and well-being.
The president underlined the need to develop and create mental health providers, especially at the primary level for the early diagnoses and treatment to arrest the illness at the initial stages which most of the time required active listening and counselling and stopping it from reaching an advanced level which required expensive curative treatment. He said that in this regard, all available training resources within the private and public sectors of the country and online training facilities available internationally should be fully exploited to create a critical mass of mental health providers as fast as possible.-APP