Oct 11, 2022
Generally, physical health is taken more seriously than mental health all around the globe. Conversations around mental health are interrupted with the statement “it’s all in your head”. This has created global negligence toward mental health which negatively impacts the diagnostic ratio of mental health disorders. Bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder are among the mental health conditions that frequently go undetected. Due to a person’s lack or reluctance to seek treatment, a mental health provider’s misdiagnosis, or both, a mental illness goes undetected frequently.
In Pakistan, around 10 to 16% of the population suffers from mild to moderate psychiatric disorders. This alarming rate necessitates the requirement of dialogue around mental health to make it a priority in Pakistan.
Following are some facts about mental health in Pakistan;
The total population of Pakistan comprises around 200 million people. However, mental health statistics show that there are fewer than 500 psychiatrists per million Pakistanis, making Pakistan have one of the worst mental health indices. More than 90% of Pakistan’s population with common mental diseases go untreated due to the country’s dearth of mental health experts.
The services of mental health in Pakistan are underdeveloped. This is a result of insufficient financial allocation as well as widespread disregard for mental health-related concerns at all levels of government planning and implementation. Although it does not have a separate budget, it is estimated that mental health accounts for roughly 1% of the national health budget, which represents about 0.8% of the GDP.
Pakistan being a developing country has many social and economic issues which make the population of Pakistan more vulnerable to mental health disorders. During the pandemic, the economy of Pakistan faced irreversible damage which had a huge impact on the middle and lower class of Pakistan. Many people lost their jobs and the thoughts of the inability to provide for their families crushed their mental health. Pakistanis were still recovering from the aftermath of the pandemic when the 2022 floods hit them. The masses affected by the flood lost their homes, lifetime investments, and the lives of their loved ones which again had a significant toll on their mental health.
The mental health of students in Pakistan is also poor considering the outdated educational system, nepotism, political influence in education, and the future they see for themselves in this country. Students also face anxiety, stress, and depression as an outcome of the attached expectations of their families around their academics. There is also increased pressure on the students of Pakistan while choosing their career path. Most adults think that only becoming a doctor, engineer, CA or CSS officer is noteworthy which leads to the formation of professionals who are unsatisfied with what they do.
Ignorance towards problems like post-partum depression also greatly exists in Pakistan. Childhood trauma is another major problem that is ignored in Pakistan. The mentality that “children are angels, they don’t know anything” increases the ignorance towards the mental health of children coming from broken families.
The sociocultural taboos that Pakistani people have attached to the concept of “masculinity” have a dark impact on the mental well-being of men of all ages. Men grow up believing that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. There are popular phrases like “Men don’t cry”, and “why are you crying like a girl” forces men to hide their feelings and emotions leading to undiagnosed mental disorders.
Since there are a variety of reasons that are putting a negative impact on the mental health of Pakistani people, the masses need to make an extra effort to overcome them. This mental health day, you should prioritize yourself and your mental health and commit to at least a few of the habits given below to improve your mental being.
Like physical health, mental health is something that everyone ‘has,’ not only those who have received a diagnosis of a mental illness or condition. Your psychological and emotional well-being is referred to as your mental health.
Being active and exercising is good for both the body and mind. Physical activity improves the functioning of your hormones which helps elevate your mood. Hormones also play an important role in the ability to focus, sleep cycle, and overall health and with physical activity, it all can be improved.
You can think more clearly and feel more awake with the aid of a healthy, balanced diet. Additionally, it can lengthen and sharpen focus and thus can improve your mental health.
You know both your flaws and strengths more than anyone. Your physical appearance or the way you speak doesn’t make you any superior or inferior. Being comfortable with your skin means that when one presents themselves and interacts with others, they are at ease and confident, giving off the idea that they have a good awareness of their capabilities and position.
You might have heard many people saying “do what you love” but for that, you need to find what you love. Many people get so busy in their everyday lives that they don’t have any time left to figure out what they love. They just spend their leisure time watching Netflix which still is fine if you enjoy doing that but it is still important to find other productive things that you love. It can be something as simple as doodling, coloring, or even enjoying a quiet sunset, keeping in mind that the goal should be to do something you enjoy, something which gives you peace.
It might be difficult to ask for support for your mental health, but you are not alone. The difficulties in asking for help are mostly caused by the stigma attached to mental illness and the difficulty in finding qualified medical assistance. You can manage daily obstacles, make difficult decisions, and can manage situations of crisis if you have a few individuals you can rely on.
Whether you are a student, employee, or elderly, you should explore various means which can help you in the management of stress. You can try meditation, exercise, management of social media time, etc.
Care routines can help you prioritize your mental health. You should keep these routines simple as simpler routines are more doable and don’t feel like a chore. A simple hair or skincare routine or a relaxing bathe routine can do wonders for your mental being.
If a gathering, social media, or meeting seems to be way too overwhelming, then you can prioritize your mental health and take a break. Small breaks can prevent mental breakdowns.
Mental health and sleep are intimately related thus sleep deprivation can negatively impact your psychological and mental health. An adequate amount of sleep is important for the brain’s ability to interpret emotional information.
Useful amendments in educational reforms and government policies can also help in the prioritization of mental health in Pakistan. Populations of rural areas and people belonging to low-income communities especially lack knowledge about mental health so it is important to arrange mental health counseling in low-income communities.
Sehat Kahani is a telemedicine platform that provides online consultations to make healthcare accessible to everyone. 24*7 mental health expert consultation is provided by Sehat Kahani to overcome the lacking of mental health recognition. We also have a helpline available to help your mental health issues. Other than these two, you can also avail in-person mental health consultations at our clinics. Moreover, we spread awareness using our social media platforms and online sessions.
The mental condition of Pakistani people requires a lot of attention considering the current and past circumstances. However, unfortunately, mental health is highly ignored in Pakistan. To overcome this, make mental health a priority from this Mental Health Day onwards and take small steps towards a better future.
Your complete well-being depends on giving your mental health the attention it deserves. Your mental well-being affects your body, mind, and spirit. Your relationships and physical health will suffer if you don’t prioritize your mental health.
Negligence towards mental health is a national problem as it is affecting 10 to 16% of the population. It can be prioritized by making effective educational policies and government reforms.
The status of mental health in Pakistan is bad as a majority of the population is suffering from undiagnosed mental health problems.
Students nowadays are prioritizing their mental health and the latest educational reforms are being made in a way to lower academic stress in students. However, there is very little to no implementation of these reforms and policies in Pakistan.
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