Seminar throws light on ways to maintain mental health

LAHORE   -    A seminar on ‘Mental Health in Unequal World’ was organised here at the Government College University (GCU) Lahore on Tuesday where speakers highlighted the increase in mental health diseases especially depression. The speakers said exercise and healthy diet do not only keep people physically fit but also help maintain their mental health. GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi chaired the seminar, which was jointly organised by the university’s Psychology Department and Punjab Food Authority, in connection with the Mental Health Day 2021. “Mental illnesses are as old as human beings. Earlier, evil spirits had been blamed for them, but as science progressed, the medical causes of mental health and treatments were found,” said Dr Aneel Shafi, a noted consultant psychiatrist from Pakistan Institute of Mental Health. He said the modern concepts which evolved about mental illness in the last 50 years are biopsychosocial, which show that biological (level of biochemicals in body), psychological (such as thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social (e.g., socioeconomical, socioenvironmental, and cultural) factors, all play a role in mental health and illness. Dr Shafi said the latest and postmodern research is about the prevention and treatment of mental health through exercise and healthy food intake. He said studies are underway on different food items and exercises which stimulates the release of chemicals in our brains and help elevates mood. Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi said diet and lifestyle can affect people’s mental health and people who overeat unhealthy foods and adopt inactivate lifestyle are at higher risk of depression. The VC said they have also activated tutorial groups and tutors are assigned as mentors to all students for their career and mental counseling. “If a student has any issue, he can easily approach his tutor for the immediate redress,” he added. Punjab Food Authority Director General Rafaqat Ali briefed students about their crackdown on adulterated food items. He advised students to always study ingredients of any food item before its consumption.

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