The theme of the WMHD this year was ‘Depression: A Global Crisis’. Seminars, discussions and walks were organised in major cities including Lahore both at the public and private level to mark the day.
In Lahore, the Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH) organised a seminar and a walk from the health facility to the Jillani Park. Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique was the chief guest at the ceremony and he also led the walk. Health Secretary Arif Nadeem also participated in the events.
Speaking on the occasion, Rafique stressed giving due attention to the people suffering from mental problems because indifferent attitude would create a sense of deprivation among them. He said the family and the society should not consider mentally retarded people as a burden but instead should take steps for their rehabilitation.
“Depression is not an issue of poor countries alone and is also widely prevalent in developed countries. This is the main cause of suicides at the global level,” said Rafique, adding that religious teachings should be followed for the contentment of mind and heart. He further said that the awareness walk was an attempt to bring the society’s attention to this problem.
Secretary Health Arif Nadeem said that the Punjab government was paying special attention to the treatment and rehabilitation of the people suffering from mental diseases, besides ensuring provision of modern facilities at the Punjab Institute of Mental Health.
Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Though there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment remains a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10 per cent of those who need it receive such treatment.
Mental health is the most neglected field in Pakistan where 10-16 per cent of the population, more than 14 million, suffers from mild to moderate psychiatric illness.
The majority of these are women. Pakistan has only one psychiatrist for every 10,000 people suffering from any of the mental disorders, while one child psychiatrist for four million children.