Awareness about the importance of mental health is increasing around the world. Both developed and developing countries are looking into ways to improve the mental health of a nation. Like many other countries, Pakistan is also facing a rise in mental health problems. Mental health problems in Pakistan have reached an appalling level in the past few decades. According to studies, about 50 million people are suffering from a mental disorder in Pakistan. These include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, Schizophrenia, alcohol misuse and post-traumatic disorders. These cases are increasing day by day due to increasing violence in Pakistani society and traumatic events experienced by individuals. There is also a high prevalence of mental health disorders among refugees from Afghanistan residing in Pakistan. The serious problem of drug addiction is also contributing to a disturbance in mental health. About four million people in Pakistan are drug addicts who are at persistent risk for increasing mental health problems in the country.

It has been seen that dealing with a certain problem is more challenging in a developing country than in a developed country. The ratio of people experiencing mental health problems is almost the same in developing countries and developed countries or maybe more in developing countries due to lackings of infrastructure and chaotic political situations. Pakistan being a developing country is experiencing the same problems. In foreign countries, mental health issues are usually taken up by psychiatrists and professional psychologists who are hired on government expenses and treatment doesn’t become a hassle financially for patients. However, patients in Pakistan face many problems as their treatment is not sponsored by the government and is at the expense of the public.

In view of this, the government should come forward and address this issue. Immediate steps for establishing mental health centres should be taken where professional psychologists and psychiatrists must be hired. People who are mentally ill and could not afford hospital fees should be sponsored by the government. There must be mental health awareness for people. It could happen only if the government take these problems seriously.

MUSFIRA ALI,

Lahore.