Prominent Pakistani psychiatrists observe World Mental Health Day
Karachi: Currently, an estimated thirty to forty million people in Pakistan are suffering from different mental disorders from which 2% are in need of urgent treatment and care, according to a statement given by Dr Syed Mubeen Akhtar, a well known psychiatrist, during a press conference held to observe the World Mental Health Day 2014 at the Karachi Press Club.
Based on the statistics presented by Dr Mubeen, one out of every 4 persons in the country suffers from a mental condition, and that approximately 25-30% of the entire population may have one of the various mental illnesses. He also stated that due to the acute shortage of qualified professionals in the field, there are only 400 doctors available to cater to the needs of a population of 180 million people. Other prominent attendees of the conference included Dr Salahuddin and Rashid Hassan.
Dr Mubeen elucidated that from the total number of patients with mental illnesses that seek medical attention, 26.2% were suffering from depression, 15% from Schizophrenia, 13.1% from sexual mental illnesses, 13% from Bipolar disorder, 5% from anxiety, phobia and panic disorders, and 4.3% from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
Dr Mubeen further explained that majority of these illnesses are curable but patients hesitate from consulting psychiatrists owing to the taboo associated with mental conditions. Patients who do successfully manage to consult and acquire treatment from psychiatrists get rid of their illnesses permanently and can then lead perfectly normal lives. He discouraged the practice of seeking help from faith healers, magicians and quacks that can potentially worsen the condition further instead of treating it.
According to Dr Mubeen, a staggering 70% of the all the patients with mental illnesses never consult a professional and this is solely due to lack of awareness, and ignorance on the part of society in general. He encouraged patients to seek professional psychiatric help from qualified experts only.
He also addressed the media personnel and authorities, imploring them to play their role in raising awareness regarding mental and psychological illnesses in our society.