Consulting a psychologist is stigma in Pakistan
To being a healthy person not only good physical health matters, the mental health and spiritual state is also important for a person. In a developing society like ours, where there are a lot of economic and social problems, issues similar to mental stress, depression and anxiety are becoming widespread. On top of that, mental health issues unfortunately are a taboo in Pakistan. Various sort of stigma is linked to psychological health illness. Consulting a psychiatrist or psychologist does not consider a positive and people with mental health issues undergo in silence just for the reason that they don’t want people calling them ‘insane’ or a psycho person.
Mental health is the for the most part neglected field in Pakistan where 10- 16% of the population, more than 14 million, experience mild to moderate psychiatric illness, greater part of which are women.
Pakistan has only one psychiatric consultant for every 10,000 persons going through from any of the mental disorders, whereas one child psychiatrist for four million children, who are anticipated to be suffering from mental health issues. Solitary four major psychiatric hospitals present for the population of 180 million and it is one the main factors following increase in number of patients with mental disorders.
According to Rabia Manzoor, a clinical psychologist at Aga Khan Health Unit in Islamabad Most people even do not observe mental illness, which ends up distressing both their personal and professional lives. Those that do become conscious about something’s amiss, become indecisive in looking for help, because of the stigma that is linked with mental illnesses in Pakistan. Every third person you will meet is definitely going through some kind of depression or mental illness. One of the major reasons not to consult a psychologist is that people become afraid of telling someone that they are taking mental therapy or treatment because they have a fear that what will people say about them. This is the most pathetic thing that we do to others.
another major reason for not consulting a psychologist that the majority of the psychiatric patients go to customary faith healers and spiritual healers who believe that psychological illness is caused by supernatural forces such as force possession or testing by God. “All this is due to a severe shortage of mental health professionals and comparatively low levels of knowledge about mental disorders”.
Mental disorders are amongst the threat factors for transmissible and non-communicable diseases. They can as well contribute to accidental and intended injury. At the same time, a lot of health conditions raise the possibility for mental disorder for example obesity has been linked with a significant increase in depression. Shame about mental disorders and discrimination in opposition to patients and families stop people from seeking mental health care.
Pakistan, in the middle of the other developing countries, has a higher occurrence rate of depression as of the current social adversities. Mean on the whole prevalence of depressive disorders and anxiety is 34%. Province wise prevalence is: Sindh 16%, Punjab 8%, Baluchistan 40%, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 5%.
Now, this is the high time for the higher authorities to take mental health as important as physical health. There is a terrible need of increasing psychiatric faculty in teaching hospitals where posts of consultant psychiatrists must be created. Mental health Act must be implemented with letter and courage. Public awareness programs addressing mental health issues ought to be launched throughout media.
Discussion of the remedies, Mental Health Pakistan suggested that mental health must be included in primary health care, must be provided in general hospitals and community based mental health services should be developed. Mental health promotion needs multi-sectoral approach. “The center should be on promoting mental health all over the life-span to make sure a healthy start in life for children to avert mental disorders in adulthood and old age.”