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Mental health needs swift and decisive action in Pakistan

09:44 AM | 10 Oct, 2023
Mental health needs swift and decisive action in Pakistan

Mental health poses a significant concern in Pakistan, as it does in many other regions around the globe. The state of mental health in Pakistan is influenced by various factors, such as socio-economic conditions, cultural norms, and access to mental health services. To gain a better understanding of the critical aspects of mental health in Pakistan, we shall categorize them into the following headings:

Stigma: Mental health issues in Pakistan are often accompanied by a considerable stigma that leads individuals to feel discriminated against and socially isolated. This fear of being stigmatized can result in delayed and inadequate treatment as people with mental illnesses are reluctant to seek help. Consequently, treatment resistance and chronicity may develop, hindering access to timely and appropriate mental health care.

Lack of Awareness: There is a general lack of awareness and understanding of mental health issues in Pakistan. Many people may not recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders and have misconceptions about mental illness. People give more imp. to the evil eye, possession, magic & Jinnic influence as major causes of mental distress.

 So they approach a traditional faith healer who usually offers an amulet, holy water, recitation of holy verses and rituals etc. for treatment. The majority of psychiatric patients in Pakistan are visiting quacks & faith healers to manage their psychiatric issues.

Limited Access to Mental Health Services: Pakistan faces a shortage of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. Access to mental health services is limited. The ratio of the population to the psychiatrists is half then the neighboring countries. The situation is bleaker in rural areas as most mental health professionals serve in big cities. The existing mental health infrastructure is questionable to meet the needs of the population of Pakistan.

Cultural Factors: They play a significant role in mental health. Pakistan's collectivist culture often places a strong emphasis on family and community, which can lead to both support and pressure for families having patients with mental health problems. Many cultural/traditional beliefs and practices may also influence the perception and treatment of mental health problems. Additionally, patients have different vocabulary to express symptoms based on cultural impact but an existing state of medical knowledge failed to address this issue as it doesn’t fit into existing classification categories

Socio-economic Challenges: These include poverty, unemployment, and lack of education. They cause high levels of stress and have a significant role in the causation of mental health problems. The higher level of stress along with limited access to resources further exacerbate the mental health problem in Pakistan.

Trauma and Conflict: Pakistan has experienced significant political and social turmoil, including terrorism and natural disasters. Such events can lead to an increased prevalence of mental health problems among affected populations.

 Many efforts have been made to improve mental health in Pakistan

These include:

Advocacy and Awareness: Mental health advocacy groups are working to reduce stigma and raise awareness about mental health issues. They aim to educate the public and promote understanding of mental health.

Government Initiatives: The government of Pakistan has recognized the importance of mental health and has initiated programs to address the issue. However, challenges related to funding and resource allocation persist.

Training and Education: Efforts are being made to train more mental health professionals and integrate mental health education into medical and healthcare curricula.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): NGOs in Pakistan are providing mental health services, counselling, and support to vulnerable populations, including women, children, and victims of violence.

 While progress is being made, there is still much work to be done to improve mental health care and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in Pakistan. Increasing awareness, improving access to services, and addressing socio-economic determinants of mental health are all important steps in this process.

The author is a Principal at Hamdard College of Medicine & Dentistry.

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PKR exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 22 April 2024

Pakistani currency remains largely same against US Dollar and other currencies on April 22, 2024 Monday.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.5 for buying and 280.5 for selling.

Euro stands at 293 for buying and 296 for selling while British Pound hovers at 342.25 for buying, and 345.65 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.20 and Saudi Riyal's new rate was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 22 April 2024

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.5 280.5
Euro EUR 293 296
UK Pound Sterling GBP 342.5 346
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.2 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 181 182.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.55 748.55
Canadian Dollar CAD 201 203
China Yuan CNY 38.47 38.87
Danish Krone DKK 39.78 40.18
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.53 35.88
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86 1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.11 912.11
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.08 58.68
New Zealand Dollar NZD 164.22 166.22
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.61 25.91
Omani Riyal OMR 723.2 731.2
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.45 77.15
Singapore Dollar SGD 204.5 206.5
Swedish Korona SEK 25.31 25.61
Swiss Franc CHF 305.47 307.97
Thai Bhat THB 7.56 7.71

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