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October 13, 2018

Sindh Mental Health Authority lacks funds, office: senator

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October 13, 2018

KARACHI: The Chairman Sindh Mental Health Authority, Senator Karim Khuwaja, said he would ensure that the provincial government allocates funds in the coming budget for the establishment of geriatrics, pediatrics and adult psychiatric wards at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) as the provincial mental health law requires establishment of separate psychiatric health facilities.

The event was organized by the Department of Psychiatry, JPMC at Najmuddin Auditorium of the hospital on Friday, which was attended by the leading psychiatrists of the country including Prof. Haroon Ahmed, Prof. Mubeen Akhtar, Dr. Naeem Siddiqui, Brig. Nasim Ahmed, and several others while Dean JPMC Prof. Iqbal Afridi hosted the event. Senator Khuwaja said although neither funds nor an office has been provided to the mental health authority by the provincial government despite Sindh High Court’s directives, he is striving for the establishment of an office in the city so it can start functioning from the coming month. Senator Khuwaja said the credit goes to Sindh assembly, being the first assembly to pass the law for creation of a mental health authority. Speaking about the psychiatric issues of the youth, he said youth must be involved in healthy activities and their interaction with their parents, teachers and elder people should be enhanced to minimize the generation gap.

Professor Emeritus Haroon Ahmed in his keynote address deplored that child abuse, both physical and mental is on the rise and asked the psychiatrists to look into the issue very seriously. The teachers should be apprised of the dangers to children and they should take young children into confidence about their safety and security.

Executive Director JPMC Dr. Seemin Jamali urged the medical fraternity and people in general to stop looking for shortcomings in others, and adopt a positive approach to prevent themselves from mental and psychiatric issues. “Unfortunately, we look towards the negative side and instead of finding positive traits in others, we always criticize them. We should search for positive strength as it would also help us mentally and emotionally”, she said adding the young generation is rapidly becoming computer, cell-phone savvy which is not good for their mental and physical health. “I would urge the parents to spend time with their children, listen to them because change in way of living is resulting personality issues and problems for youngsters”, she maintained.

The Dean and head of psychiatry department of JPMC Prof. Iqbal Afridi called for adopting a healthy lifestyle including exercise, balanced diet, good sleep and abstinence from tobacco and other drugs, saying only a healthy lifestyle not only ensures better physical health but it also helps in attaining positive mental health. “I would urge people to think positively, eat simple, healthy and balanced diet, sleep eight hours a day with going to bed and rising early, exercise daily for 30-40 minutes, avoid use of soft drinks, coffee, tobacco and other drugs”, he advised.

Other experts including Prof. Chooni Lal also spoke, while school children from Army Public School and other institutions addressed the mental health issues of youngsters. The doctors of JPMC psychiatry department also presented a short play on generation gap and use of drugs among youngsters.

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