Mental health issues | Pakistan Today

Mental health issues

  • Society at large needs to be educated in regards to depression
For far too long, people in our society have silenced the talk of mental health. Depression and anxiety is not given its due importance. The larger part of the community is even unwilling to identify mental health as a problem. Depression and anxiety are considered the figment of a person´s imagination or even worse, distance from religion.
The most common cure for anyone facing depressive disorder is to find solace in religion. No doubt religion has a substantial role to play in almost every aspect of human life, however certain issues require medical attention and mental health is one of them. It is a clinically diagnosed disease which requires medical treatment and cure. There is a reason why doctors professionally acquire training to treat patients facing mental health issues.
Unfortunately, societal defects lead to a person taking one´s life without any help being provided. The first diagnosis by a close relative would be weak faith. Elders will advise the person to attain closeness to religion in order to curb the psychological issues being faced. The second alternative would be to seek guidance from a spiritual healer who in turn would suggest a number of actions which themselves would be far from religion. Consulting a medical professional would be the last resort and for most, never an option.
Seeking professional health for psychological problems is even considered a taboo
Seeking professional health for psychological problems is even considered a taboo. People feel embarrassed to talk about visiting a psychiatrist for the fear of being judged or even considered a lunatic. Amidst this three-step process, lives are destroyed and even lost. People tend to end their pain rather than to endure depression.  The number of suicides prevalent in our country at the moment is alarming and a huge cause for concern. The state provides absolutely no help regarding mental health. Even thousands of criminals might be mental health patients however, never would they ever be diagnosed.
The first step to be taken is to understand and comprehend the prevalence of depression and anxiety. It could be due to a number of reasons ranging from work related stress to financial problems or even domestic problems. The most unfortunate reason behind most of this stress is the pressure to cope up. If a person in a family achieves something big, he/she becomes a barometer for the rest of the family and every child is expected to at least live up to the standard already set. What most parents fail to realise is that every human being is born different and tends to be the opposite of their brother or sister. The peer-pressure these days leads to chronic mental health problems and most of the parents fail to recognise the symptoms of the same.
The society at large needs to be educated in regards to depression, anxiety, paranoia and suicidal tendencies. The upcoming generations are mostly sentimental or emotional and tend to over-react in situations that would otherwise be considered trivial. This leads to steps such as suicide or drug use. The latter being another major predicament faced by our society which I would leave to discuss some other time.
The state needs to adopt suicide prevention mechanisms and reach out to the general public. Mental counselling is drastically needed at this time and age. Mental disorders need to be treated as actual health issues and appropriate treatment needs to be meted.
People should be conscious of others around them and extra efforts should be made to reach out to individuals seemingly facing mental health issues. The stress in life is generally sufficient to drive any person towards anxiety let alone other external factors. The competitive academic setup as well as financial difficulties faced by the common man today are serious elements in causing depression.
Depression in these times is rapidly leading people to commit suicide and no serious attention is being paid to it. Rather than self-diagnosis, professional help should be obtained for any friend or relative who so requires it. Awareness is required to curb the on-going epidemic of mental health issues.
The rise in the numbers of drug use is directly related to depressive disorders. It becomes an easy escape route for people suffering with depression or stress. In most cases the drugs themselves take the person´s life.
PTI with its progressive manifesto needs to pay close attention to mental health. Laws should be passed making it mandatory for employers to consider mental health of their employees. Counselling should be provided to employees facing work related stress. Employers should even be restricted from over-burdening their employees in terms of work.
Psychological evaluation should be adopted as an essential component of the existing system. There are hardly any public hospitals which cater to mental health patients. Rather than treating mental health as an outcast subject the same should be given due importance. It should be mandatory for all academic institutions to employ professional psychiatrists in their respective institutions with a mandate to provide mental counselling to all students. A child or teenager may be facing problems at home which may be the reason behind poor performance. However, instead of considering other mitigating factors such students are merely penalised for their poor performance.
Psychological counselling should be extended to rural areas and people should be encouraged to speak up comfortably about any issues that they may be facing. Similarly, post-traumatic stress disorder has almost no value in our country. It remains one of the most serious issues prevalent globally and yet Pakistan lags behind as usual. Unexpected incidents in a person´s life cause PTSD which shape up their reactions and emotions.
As responsible citizens and family members, everyone should reach out to the people around them and try and be there as much as possible. We should carefully observe the people around us and try and identify a person facing psychological issues in order to sincerely help them overcome the same. With a focus on mental health, a large number of issues including drug abuse and suicide can be prevented to a great extent.