KARACHI- On October 10th World Mental Health Day is observed globally. An event focusing on the subject of mental health was organized, in Karachi, by the Augosh Trust and Essa Laboratories. At the event, a renowned Neurophysician Dr Fowzia Siddiqui, spoke to the audience making many enlightening revelations about mental health in general, as well as its status in Pakistan.
In her address, she remarked that the observance of World Mental Health Day gives us an opportunity to bring awareness regarding mental health concerns, and highlight mental health and wellbeing issues in places where we work, rest and play. Healthy minds constitute a healthy and a productive society. Therefore, it is important to work on individual and collective levels to address the prevailing mental issues in our society that range from commoner problems like depression and anxiety, to rarer ones like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Dr Fowzia said that a quarter of the population struggles with mental health in any given year – that is one in every four people. She educated the participants of ways to deal with people suffering at the hands of a mental issue. She said that if someone was acting differently or appeared to be struggling, it was important to reach out to them. Ask how they are doing, and listen without judging. Being able to talk to somebody can make a big difference. The concepts of jinn and black magic etc., have deterred people from seeking specialized care. Public awareness is much needed and we need to act fast to prevent society from going downhill.
She suggested to general and medical universities to offer more programs in psychology, clinical psychology, neurology and psychiatry, to produce more mental health experts so as to cater the needs of one-fourth of our population.
Toward the end of the session she conveyed a clear message, calling people toward the practice of rebuilding our families, and our society by lifting each other up. She said, “Remembering that you are not alone is vital. Your mental health is not something to be ashamed about. You control yourself, and sometimes you need help finding that control again, and that is more important than any drug. Medicines will only help if you are motivated to help yourself.”
She concluded her speech with a demand for the government, stating that special focus should be paid to the mental health of citizens. She said that the medicines to treat mental illness should be subsidized and more departments should be opened for mental health patients in major public sector hospitals.