Pakistan’s denial of mental illness in human life

Mental Illness in Pakistan

With the passage of time and according to a new survey,  you can hear or see things widely that are not there. Imagine delusions and hallucinations. Now, imagine being chained to a wall for 6 months because of your mental illness when you are already terrified and confused. This is the life of people suffering from schizophrenia in rural Pakistan, who are deprived of mental health treatments due to the belief that they are possessed by Jinns and unmaterialized thinking.

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A new Survey on mental Illness

Pakistan’s mental health crisis is on the rise with suicide and mental illness rates increasing.  The suicide ignited brief discussions of mental illness, including some people commenting on Twitter as to why a young celebrity would take her life. This ignorance about mental illness emphasizes the need to educate the masses on what it is and how it is all around us.

In just a few years, Pakistan’s statistics for mental illness increased from 10% to 34%. In 2017, Dr Ayesha Mian, chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry at the Aga Khan University (AKU), highlighted the fact that there were only 400 trained psychiatrists at the time for the millions that needed treatment. With lack of allocated resources towards the mental health crisis including a shortage of psychiatrists for the masses,

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According to Psychology point of view

The prevalent notion that one is crazy if they are seen at a psychologist or psychiatrist’s office stops a large portion of the population from seeking treatment. The stigma and gossip associated with treatment is one that is integrated into the society without realizing that the person needs support and encouragement. A trip to a mental health practitioner upon need is just as important as a trip to the doctor when you’re physically ill.

In the rural areas, most of the patients of schizophrenia are left behind at religious shrines with the claim that they are possessed by Jinns. The mind-set is shared by the patients themselves with 53% of mental health patients claiming the cause of their illness is Jinns. Not only are they neglected of proper treatment, but they are also mistreated. Many women suffering from mental illness are married off instead of being treated. It should come as no surprise that mistreatment and loneliness is not the cure for mental illness. But the issue here is another altogether: the refusal to accept that there is the presence of mental disorders in these individuals.

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