Past Issues

Mental Healthcare in Pakistan

Afzal Javed, Muhammad Nasar Sayeed Khan, Amina Nasar, Alina Rasheed

Background: According to the latest report, over 15 million people in Pakistan are suffering from some form of mental illness. But for a population of 220 million, only 400 trained psychiatrists exist with few state-run psychiatric hospitals and a small number of psychiatric units in teaching and general hospitals. In a traditionalist society, there is frequently a social disgrace together with discussing dysfunctional or abnormal behaviors as mental health problems and is generally described as a “shortcoming of character.” Methods: We carried out comprehensive literature review to collect data on the current mental health picture in Pakistan, and we also compared and formulated the recommendations from the literature of the related countries in the region and developed countries whenever possible. Results: Mental healthcare is still not a priority in the health system in Pakistan. A dire need still exists for a recognition from both public and private sectors for improving mental health planning and services in the country. Government must actualize social strategies that should be simple, equitable, and practical, as well as being able to address the issues of the regular needs. Asset allotment for emotional wellness is horrifyingly low and wasted away by defilement and fumble. A requirement exists for expanded spending on mental healthcare and psychological and emotional well-being just as appropriate usage of accessible assets. Conclusion: In this review, we suggest that a progressive change is required in the current state of psychiatry in Pakistan and that a need exists for a continuing review about existing strategies with a focus on setting sustainable priorities in the field of mental health, especially in policymaking, capacity building, awareness among public, and the use of media to minimize stigma.
Key Word mental health system, psychiatrist’s education, psychiatry, stig
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