‘Dignity in mental health remains a far off prospect in Pakistan’
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of a disease or infirmity,” stated head Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Afridi at a seminar.
The programme held with respect to this year’s World Mental Health Day theme ‘Dignity in mental health’ was organized by a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) Karwan-e-Hayat.
The psychiatrist called for setting up rehabilitation centres, specifically dealing with mental illnesses, throughout the city. “Even though mental illnesses were widespread in Pakistan, efforts to rehabilitate the sufferers have hardly ever been made.”
Prof Afridi believed in human beings having a meaning and purpose to their life, a positive outlook to the external environment for them to achieve a sense of self-satisfaction.
According to the World Federation of Mental Health and World Health Organisation’s definition, mental health was described as a state of well-being in which an individual realises his/her own abilities and can cope with the normal stresses of life, he said. “Good mental health,” he added, “was the ability to function under adversity.”
Elaborating on the theme, Prof Afridi asserted that dignity was strongly linked with an individual’s respect, recognition, self-worth and the possibility to make choices.
“The shame associated with mental illnesses has led to millions of people silently suffer, consequently aggravating the factors from which the illness developed in the first place. It has proved to be the biggest hurdle in curing mental diseases”
He also urged the authorities to initiate community based mental health programmes and make efficient use of telemedicine in order to make the treatments easily accessible for patients residing in rural areas.
Karwan-e-Hayat President Saleem Uddin Ahmed endorsed the worldwide notion of people suffering from mental illnesses to have the capacity to be an effective part of the society, only if provided quality treatment timely.
Two documentaries were also shown at the end of the session. A minute’s silence was also observed for the victims of the October 26th earthquake.
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