“The public should be sensitised about the needs of people suffering from mental illnesses. Much can be done if caregivers are trained in how to help people with mental disabilities,” said Nishtar Hospital Head of Psychiatry Department Naeem Leghari.
He was addressing a ceremony at Nishtar Hospital. Leghari said there was a dearth of research on mental health disorders in south Punjab.
He said according to a study, nearly 25 per cent of the people in the region were suffering from mental health issues.
He said families often took such patients to quacks for treatment.
“These patients are exploited by the quacks,” he said. “They receive no help or medical attention.”
He said there were not enough psychiatrists in south Punjab and urged the government to take notice of the situation.
“The Health Department should depute physiatrists at all district headquarters hospitals,” he said.
“It is the duty of medical practitioners to advocate psychiatric care for patients they believe can benefit from it,” he said. “It is important to discuss mental health at all forums so that those suffering from disorders can be provided the help they need.”
Azhar Hussain, a psychiatrist, said thousands of people with mental health conditions around the world were deprived of medical attention.
“They often face violence and abuse and are excluded from the community,” he said.
He said families, relatives and friends should be sensitive to the needs of people with mental health issues.
“They should not be called names. Respect, dignity, care, education and proper attention are essential for such patients,” he said.
Psychiatrist Iqbal Bappy said depression could be cured through proper interventions.
“Depression can be triggered by a number of factors: unemployment, lack of attention, violence, domestic abuse or social injustice,” he said.
“It is alright to admit that you are depressed and seek help,” he said.
“Psychiatric care is often not available for the poor,” he said. The government should form a strategy to address mental health issues in the province, added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2015.
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