President calls for awareness on mental health as 24% Pakistanis under stress

ISLAMABAD, Oct 10 (Alliance News):President Dr Arif Alvi highlighting Pakistan’s limited capacity to deal with the disease burden, called for creating awareness about mental health and well-being as most mental illnesses, which could be cured in a cost-effective manner if diagnosed and managed at an early stage.
The president, in a message to the nation on World Mental Health Day annually observed on October 10, cited the National Commission of Human Rights of Pakistan saying that 24% of people in Pakistan were under stress which compounded with economic difficulties becomes an alarming situation.

He said the Day was observed with an obvious theme that ‘Mental health was a universal human right’. This is to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, the effects of mental illness on the lives of the people, and the need for support within the family, then recognition of the problem, getting over social taboos to get professional help, he said.
He said unfortunately, Pakistan had limited human and material resources to deal with this disease burden that affects an increasing number of adolescents, young people, and women.

The president said the newspapers every day carried a few extreme stories of suicides as well as domestic violence even killings that can be traced back to the national psychiatric burden.
“To overcome this challenge, we need an integrated approach to strengthen the existing infrastructure by using online mental health portals, virtual programs, artificial intelligence, mental health chatbots, helplines, mobilizing relevant government and other stakeholders, and forging public-private partnerships,” he urged.
The president said Pakistan lacked trained and qualified human resources in this field, and it was highly imperative that tele-health centres to reached out to people in need.
He particularly urged the media, teachers, parents, religious scholars, celebrities, social media influencers and community leaders to understand this alarming situation, help remove social taboos that discourage discussion and getting help.
“The figures about students under stress in colleges and universities is as high as 60%.  Educational institutions and employers should provide an enabling environment to students and employees by ensuring a good work-life balance,” he emphasised.
President Alvi also urged people to adopt healthier lifestyles, spend quality time with friends and family, and take regular exercise to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
“I am hopeful that our collective efforts at the individual, institutional, and national levels would enable us to improve the overall mental health and well-being of the people,” he added.

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