World Mental Health Day is being observed on 10 October every year, and the motive of this day is to create awareness regarding mental health issue around the world. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.
This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is “focus on suicide prevention”
Mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that makes it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life.
The two of most common mental health issues are depression and anxiety, according to medical experts, depression is a serious psychological illness that negatively affects a person’s feelings, thinking and his behavior also. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in routine activities and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. The causes of depression can be Environmental, genetic and biochemical
Sadly, depression or the major depressive disorder is alarmingly rising among the people of Pakistan and the irony is; it is the most neglected area of concern in our society. According to the Pakistan Association for Mental Health more than 14 million people in Pakistan suffering from mild to moderate psychiatric illness, majority of which are women, and we have only one psychiatrist for every 10,000 persons suffering from any of the mental disorder
Matters regarding the mental health are persistent to be ignored in our society. Individuals are usually afraid to talk about their mental health problems because of the fear of not being understood and the access to the treatment is also a major cause.
In our country, the prevalence of mental disorders is immensely increasing in the background of growing poverty, deprived education system, less earnings, stressful working environments, violence, economical problems, unemployment, gender discrimination, unhealthy lifestyle, failed relationships, poor nutrition, physical health issues, unrestricted urbanization, poor law and order situation and absence of peaceful atmosphere. More specifically the citizens of Karachi are under severer mental stress and psychological pressure; almost two million people in Karachi suffering from mental, emotional, intellectual or social adjustment disorders.
Unfortunately, Depression has become a leading cause of Suicide globally. The global suicide rate is 11.4 per 100,000 populations. According to a research, the suicide rate in Pakistan is said to be 2.9 per 100,000/- year, a report by WHO mentioned. More than 13,000 people died by suicide in Pakistan since 2012, and these numbers keep growing.
It is tragic that there is a high prevalence of mental health disorders in young population, according to researches depressive and anxiety disorders are noticeably highest amongst the youth in Pakistan. Mental health problems are impacting approximately 15 to 35 million adults, which is about 10 to 20% of the population; and the depression led suicide rate is higher among young generation. A year ago, a 26 year old fashion model Anam Tanoli took her life after suffering from severe depression and it was the example of how depression in our society goes unnoticed. During recent years we witnessed the suicide cases of college/university students; few days back a final year engineering student in Faisalabad has committed suicide after a teacher repeatedly failed him. What a tragedy; now our educational institutes are becoming one of the reasons for the young students to end their lives? Sigh!
What can we do?
Need of the hour is to build the platforms for the awareness regarding the mental health problems among the common masses. But how?
-By creating a mental health care faculty in each government hospitals and making it affordable for each and every individual regardless of what social status he/she belongs.
-By arranging more and more Public seminars in schools, colleges, universities, communities and in work places as well.
-By appointing a counselor/psychotherapist in educational institutes and in work places.
-By starting campaigns through social media/digital media to make people understand that it’s alright to talk about mental issues, stress and anxiety and it’s important to reach out for help.
And most importantly we all need to learn the lesson of kindness. A simple kind word or action can entirely change someone’s thoughts and opinion. As one of the greatest humanitarian once said:
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
– Mother Teresa