World Mental Health Day 2023 is being observed around the globe including Pakistan today (Tuesday, October 10).
According to the media reports, the theme of World Mental Health Day 2023 is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’. This Day is an opportunity for people and communities to improve knowledge, raise awareness, and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.
The President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi said in his message on World Mental Health Day that most mental illnesses can be cured in a cost-effective manner if diagnosed and managed at an early stage. He called for creating awareness about the mental health and well-being of people.
The President of Pakistan further stated that we need an integrated approach to strengthen the existing infrastructure by using online mental health portals, virtual programs, artificial intelligence, mental health chatbots, and helplines, mobilizing relevant government and other stakeholders, and forging public-private partnerships.
Mental Health in Pakistan:
Unfortunately, talking about mental health is still frowned upon in Pakistani society. Mental health is a pattern that influences our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is frequently referred to as a mental state or condition. In conclusion, such a condition is a significant problem that has an impact on people anywhere in the world, regardless of their culture or background. However, the majority of Pakistan still views talking about mental health as taboo.
In our nation, mental illness is frequently stigmatized and misunderstood, which leaves those in need of it without adequate knowledge, support, or treatment alternatives. Similar to physical health, mental health ought to be given priority since, over time, it gives you power, resilience, and the capacity to adjust to changing conditions in life. If we examine the root of the problem, mental health is taboo mostly due to the elements that contribute to the stigma attached to it, one of which is the lack of knowledge and understanding of such conditions.
Unfortunately, a lot of individuals in our society believe that having mental health problems is correlated with one’s spiritual belief in religion; if one is less religious, one is more likely to experience mental health problems than someone who prays five times each day. This is one of the reasons why so many of us misunderstand the signs or origins of mental diseases and frequently mistake them for character faults or personal failings. We need to enhance public awareness and education about mental health illnesses and talk more freely about this to the public through public campaigns, media, and education programs in schools and workplaces across the nation in order to reduce the significant stigma surrounding mental health in Pakistan.