Mental Health in Pakistan: Policymakers Need to Act Now

By Dr. Ayesha I. Mian, Momin Iqbal Lodhi, Mahrukh Nadeem Khan, Dr. Aisha Sanober Chachar, Dr. Sana Asif Siddiqui


Health sector, and in particular mental health (MH), has not been prioritized in Pakistan. This policy note attempts to analyze the mental health challenge in Pakistan and aims to propose a policy response to address this issue. Mental illness is now responsible for the highest burden of illness globally and surpasses that of all cancers combined or cardiovascular disease. At any given time, about 1 in every 10 people worldwide suffers from a mental health disorder, and about 1 in 4 families has a member with a mental health disorder. This policy note suggests focusing on (a) legal and policy framework; (b) training and regulation of professional instruction in mental health; (c) mental health promotion, advocacy and alignment with SDGs; (d) mental health literacy and services in primary, secondary and higher educational institutes; (e) mental wellness through healthy parenting programs; and (f) organizational policies for mental health.

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