close
Wednesday February 28, 2024

President calls for national policy to address mental health issues

By APP
November 29, 2023

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday emphasised the need for formulation of a national policy to address the mental health issues as 24% population of the country was suffering from various mental health problems.

He stressed upon an institutional framework and public-private partnership to provide mental health services to the people. The president expressed these views while chairing a follow-up meeting at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on mental health in Pakistan, the President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release.

A detailed presentation by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination on the National Mental Health App ‘Humraaz’ highlighted that more than 240,000 calls had been received since its launch in April 2023. 

President Dr Arif Alvi speaks during a ceremony on November 28, 2023. — Facebook/Dr. Arif Alvi
President Dr Arif Alvi speaks during a ceremony on November 28, 2023. — Facebook/Dr. Arif Alvi 

The meeting was attended by Caretaker Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Nadeem Jan and representatives of the National Commission for Human Rights, the World Health Organization, and senior government officials. Representatives of the provincial health departments, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan Psychiatric Society, Taskeen Health Initiative, Pakistan Psychological Association, Pakistani American Psychiatric Association of North America, British Pakistani Psychiatrists Association, and other organizations working on mental health attended the meeting via video link.

The president appreciated the launching of ‘Humraaz’ that was providing mental health assistance and counselling services to the people in need. He called for improving the effectiveness of the ‘Humraaz’ app, besides strengthening the mental health support system in the country. He highlighted that mental health was a major concern for Pakistan which required coordinated efforts by both the public and private sectors to utilize their expertise.

He further emphasized the need for an integrated approach on all mental health-related programmes and initiatives to effectively address the mental health challenge being faced by the country. President Alvi stressed upon the need for the capacity building of human resources, besides providing online trainings to overcome the shortage of mental health professionals. The meeting underscored the need for raising awareness about mental health issues to educate the people about the importance of seeking mental health counselling.

The role of the family in providing psychological support and helping manage health issues was also highlighted. During the meeting, the need for collective measures and an integrated approach involving various stakeholders, including relevant ministries, Pakistani psychiatric associations based in the United States and the United Kingdom, and civil society was also stressed. The minister for health services appreciated the role played by President Dr Arif Alvi and the First Lady in raising awareness about various health issues in Pakistan.