Seminar on World Mental Health Day

SIALKOT: A large number of the people from all walks of life, participated in a day long awareness raising seminar held at Govt. Allama Iqbal Memorial Teaching Hospital Sialkot here to mark the importance of World Mental Health Day here Thursday. They expressed complete solidarity with the psychiatric patients and pledged to make all out sincere individual and collective efforts in the society for creating awareness among general public regarding psychiatric problems of the psychiatric ailments.

Prof. Dr. Zafar Ali Chaudhary Principal Khawaja Muhammad Safdar Medical College Sialkot presided over the seminar.

Local senior psychiatrists Dr. Rana Muzammal Shamsher Khan and Dr. Shamshad Ahmed Gill delivered lectures on psychiatric problems and our duties. While, the students of Govt. Murray College Sialkot also staged a one act drama on this burning issue.

Senior psychiatrists revealed that the key to continue the momentum on mental health is to step up advocacy efforts. Policy makers and the general public are only partly aware of the fact that mental disorders are common, causes, a large amount of burden and effective treatment of most mental disorders is possible. The image of mental illness is incorrectly associated with images of violence and laziness rather than with suffering, marginalization and denial of basic rights, they added.

They narrated that most health workers are not conversant with modern methods of treatment of mental illness and often do not possess the necessary skills to deal with it. Among them there are many who believe that the only way of dealing with mental illness is long term hospital care.

Dr. Rana Muzammal Shamsher Khan and Dr. Shamshad Ahmed Gill added that in the majority of countries, including developed ones, there is no parity of care for mental and physical illnesses. Stigma of mental illness gains strength from these misconceptions and reinforces them. Advocacy efforts are targeted to create a well-informed society on mental health and disorders in spite of their tragic nature and adverse effects on mental health, are unparalleled opportunities to build better mental health systems for all people in need.

In response to increasing evidence that most people with depression and substance abuse disorders do not seek specialized care, the national experts to identify concrete action steps and deliverables to improve mental health care access and quality in the primary care setting. This is important because mental health is crucial to the overall wellbeing, functioning, and resilience of individuals, societies and countries recovering from emergencies.

Prof. Dr. Zafar Ali Chaudhary, Principal Khawaja Muhammad Safdar Medical College Sialkot urged that the media coverage that relies on accurate information instead of sensational depictions or stereotypes can improve the public’s understanding of mental health issues and combat stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses.

Every year on 10th of October, The World Health Organization joins in celebrating the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues. The theme of the day in 2013 is “Mental health and older adults”.

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