‘Over 34% Pakistanis suffer from anxiety’

Psychiatrists say incidents of suicide rising in K-P, highest in Chitral


​ Our Correspondent October 11, 2019
Representational image. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: Over 34 per cent people in the country are suffering from anxiety and depression causing an increase in the incidents of suicides.

On World Mental Health Day experts said the worst-hit area in terms of suicides in Pakistan was Chitral. Across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, they said inflation and unemployment are increasing suicides among people suffering from depression.

Psychologists citing the World Health Organisation report on World Mental Health Day said that a number of psychiatrists treating depression in the country is extremely low. Poor quality of life, poverty, and unemployment in Pakistan are increasing the suicide rates.

The number of suicides is increasing day by day. Among those, Pakistani women have higher suicide rates. However, a new trend has now emerged, with students committing suicide after getting low marks in matric, first year and second-year examinations.

Khyber Teaching Hospital Psychiatry Department Chairman Prof Dr Syed Muhammad Sultan while addressing a press conference at Peshawar Press Club demanded the government to take measures for the appointment of psychiatrists at district-level hospitals in the city in compliance of the rules laid in Medical Health Act 2017.

Speaking on the occasion of World Mental Health Day at press club along with other mental health experts, Dr Sultan demanded the authorities to expedite the construction of Fountain House Hayatabad for the treatment of people affected by psychological diseases. Dr Sultan further stressed on raising awareness amongst the public regarding various psychiatric disorders.

He said that World Mental Health Day was observed with the purpose to raise awareness regarding psychological diseases while also addressing misconceptions related to mental health.

About 34 per cent of people in Pakistan faces anxiety and depression while five per cent has become drug addicts, about two percent suffer from bipolar disorders while one per cent of the citizens is affected by schizophrenia. About 10 per cent of the country’s children also faces various psychological problems.

Dr Sultan lamented that Pakistan did not have any system for hospital admissions of psychologically ill children and elderly people. Worse still, the doctor-to-patient ratio for psychiatric diseases is 1-to-500,000, which is quite unsatisfactory as compared to global standards.

The incidence of mental health problems in Pakistan is increasing day by day due to which there is a general lacking of safety in the masses. Many social evils like terrorism and poverty are also caused by psychological problems while people continue to spend unhealthy and depressing lifestyles, he said.

The Psychology Department of the University of Peshawar on Thursday marked World Mental Health Day where parents were asked to give attention to their children in the mental growth. The participants observed that depression was the main cause of psychological and physical disorders, especially among children. “Parents need to be vigilant about their growing and adult children for assessing the sleeping disorders, sudden mood changes, and imbalanced diet," said Meena Ahmad, a team leader of drug addiction stall installed at the psychology department to mark the day. She pointed out for better cure and care and immediate recourse to Psychological treatment. The psychology department organizes free counseling camp, walk, and painting competitions to sensitise the university dwellers on the importance of World Mental Health Day. Pro- Vice-Chancellor University of Peshawar Prof Johar Ali along with Chairperson Prof Dr Irum Irshad, Prof Dr Muhammad Jahanzeb, emeritus professor Ms Farhana Jahangir along with senior faculty and a large number of students participated in the activity.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2019.

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