Covid-19 further exacerbates mental health: WHO

Mon Oct 10 2022
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The World Mental Health Day is being marked globally including in Pakistan on Monday to raise and highlight mental health cases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the cases of depression have increased by more than 27 percent globally and the cases of anxiety disorder by 25 percent after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. This adds to the 1 billion people who were already suffering from mental disorders.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Psychiatric Society said that in Pakistan around 34 per cent people are suffering from various mental disorders including depression, anxiety and others.

According to the World Health Organization, in Pakistan, mental disorders account for more than 4 percent of the total disease burden, with the mental health burden higher among women.

It is estimated that 24 million people in Pakistan are in need of psychiatric assistance. However, allocated resources for the screening and treatment of mental health disorders are not enough to meet the increasing needs. X

According to WHO data, Pakistan has only 0.19 psychiatrists per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the lowest numbers in WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, and in the whole world.

World Mental Health Day is marked every year on 10th of October. The theme for this year is, “Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority”. The day was also observed in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) by the psychiatry department.

 Federal Health Secretory, Mirza Nasir ud Din Mashood Ahmed said that Pakistan has one of the poorest mental health indicators and less than 500 psychiatrists for this population size. This paucity of mental health professionals in Pakistan creates a massive treatment gap, leaving more than 90% of people with common mental disorders untreated.

Mashood said, “We have learnt the lesson from COVID-19 pandemic that no one worldwide was ready for the allied mental health crunch and its long-term impact on human brain. The current Flood situation is the recent example, which means that any traumatic event can have a devastating effect on the emotional health of the people involved. Such traumatic events may include the grief from losing a loved one, livelihood stresses like economizing or other academic or career setbacks, or health stresses from illnesses, or family/relationship stresses like a divorce, amongst others.”

He also announced the establishment of Autism treatment center and mental health helpline at PIMS on the occasion.

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