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October 14, 2018

Every 10th adult suffers from mental, neurological disorders


October 14, 2018

Rawalpindi : The issues of youth in changing world involving online technologies are leading to inhibited social interaction and emerging issues of cybercrime, cyber bullying and cyber games.

Half of all mental disorders begin by the age of 14 which mostly remain undetected, untreated and one in 10 adolescents suffer from mental, neurological and substance use disorders with depression being the 9th leading cause of illness and disability and anxiety being the 8th leading cause of disability followed by the growing evidence of illicit drug use, worldwide.

To have healthy youth, focus should be on prevention strategies including detection of early warning signs and symptoms of mental illnesses engaging parents and teachers who have a pivotal role in providing psychosocial support to children and adolescents.

Mental health experts expressed this during a symposium titled “Young People and Mental Health in the Changing World” organized by Institute of Psychiatry, WHO Collaborating Center for Mental Health Research and Training, Rawalpindi Medical University in connection with World Mental Health Day.

Head of the Institute Dr Asad Tamizuddin Nizami welcomed the guests, with special mention for Professor Emeritus Malik Hussain Mubbashar, Founder of the Institute of Psychiatry, Professor Fareed Minhas, Co-Chairman Board of Advanced Studies, RMU and Director Centre for Global Mental Health Pakistan, Prof. Atif Rehman, Chair of Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and lead for Global Mental Health at the University of Liverpool and Riaz Ahmed Sohee, CEO Education Rawalpindi.

Speaking on the occasion, he emphasized the need of collaborating efforts of mental health professionals with the government, parents and teachers in devising and implementing preventive strategies. In Pakistan almost 64% of population is below the age of 30 and 29% between 15 and 29 years of age and for their mental and physical health, a lot is needed to be done, he said.

He concluded his talk with a quote by Fredrick Douglass, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.

Consultant Psychiatrist at the Institute and the moderator for the symposium Dr. Muhammad Azeem highlighted the problems faced by youth of today, including relationship issues, brand competition and the differences in the thinking pattern of young and older generations especially in Pakistan, which impacts on the mental wellbeing of youngsters.

Head of Department of Child & Adolescent Mental Health at the Institute Dr. Ayesha Minhas said that in Pakistan over 40% of population being under 18 years of age is facing major challenges of changing world including digitalization, globalization and urbanization that are affecting the lives of young people. One in five children showed signs and symptoms of a psychological disorder and there is an average delay of 8 to 10 years from the onset of mental illness to the start of treatment, she said.

She emphasized on the importance of parenting, including the warmth and affection, respect, unconditional love, communication, explicit and consistent rules, and no emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse.

Professor Fareed Minhas who accentuated that “a broken child is hard to mend” termed the role of preventive strategies as a major factor in minimizing the risk of mental disorders in young population, the foremost component of which are parents and the teachers. He elaborated his vision of forming a promotional activity which would include parents, teachers and mental health professionals, focusing on young children as first 10 years of a child mental health affect the success, failures, relationships, and personality development.

Dr Asad Nizami then welcomed Professor Atif Rahman, one of the Lancet Commissioners, who formally launched the Lancet Commission for Global Mental Health and Development ( report in Pakistan at the occasion and shared the fresh perspective on global mental health and sustainable development.

Based upon the recommendations of the Lancet commission, he emphasized four key innovations in global mental health interventions should be prioritized and scaled up in Pakistan: Task-sharing of psychosocial interventions to non-specialized workers as the foundation of the mental health-care system, coordination of this foundation with primary and specialist care to achieve a balanced model of care, adoption of digital platforms to facilitate the delivery of interventions across the continuum of care and implementation of community-based interventions to enhance the demand for care.

The guest of honour, Professor Mubbashar then shed light on the burden of suicide in adolescent population and appreciated the efforts of mental health professionals in abolishing the suicide act from Pakistan Penal Court, which previously would subject imprisonment to those attempting to commit suicide. He mentioned the need of involvement of parents, teachers in collaboration with the psychiatrists for prevention of mental health issues especially in adolescents. He also proposed to modify the definition of health by the WHO by addition of spiritual as well as moral component. He suggested to the professionals from the education sector to implement school mental health initiatives and provided them manuals for implementing it.

Later an awareness walk was conducted that was participated by all speakers, guests, mental health professionals, consultants, residents, house officers and nursing staff, followed by refreshments.

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