KP govt, UNICEF join hands to tackle mental health issues in province | Pakistan Today

KP govt, UNICEF join hands to tackle mental health issues in province

ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Department of Health, in partnership with Pakistan UNICEF and Netherlands War Trauma Foundation, has chalked out a comprehensive five-year ‘Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Strategic Plan 2018-2022’ for the province.

This was stated by KP Directorate of General Health Services Public Health Director Dr Shaheen Afridi on Sunday on the conclusion of a three-day workshop held in Islamabad to mark the World Mental Health Day observed on October 10.

The workshop organised by the UNICEF in collaboration with the KP Health Department and non-governmental organisations(NGOs) working in this field, was attended by policymakers from the KP health, education and social welfare departments, as well as practitioners from provincial primary, secondary and tertiary mental health care sectors.

The participants shared examples of best practices to form a solid technical basis for this five-year plan.

Dr Shaheen Afridi said that the mission is to enhance mental health and social well-being for all people living in KP, particularly in regard to the province’s most vulnerable children, in support of which the government is committed to providing the best possible mental and psycho-social support services to those in need.

She also said that the health department acknowledges that for many mental health or psychological disorders, prescribed medicines may be supplemented by, or even replaced, through the provision of appropriate psycho-social support services to individuals in distress. Majority of the people grappling with mental health issues might be managed more effectively at the community level – close to their homes and families, she added.

She said that such an approach is especially effective when addressing the needs of children/adolescents with psycho-social problems and will also contribute to reducing the stigma commonly affecting those seeking help. The goal to integrate an appropriate mental health package with pre-existing primary care services will admittedly require unwavering dedication and energy over medium to long term, she added.

“However, the path is clear and goals have been defined now and let’s move forward,” Dr Shaheen Afridi concluded.

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