With many people now reporting symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive equivalents, and anxiety, coronavirus has started affecting the mental health of people, including healthcare providers in Pakistan and the rest of the world.
According to the details, an increasing rate of abuse is also being witnessed in the world, including Pakistan. However, the situation is worse in war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
Speaking at an international conference on “Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access. Everyone, Everywhere” at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), mental health experts from Pakistan and other parts of the world said that the countries with a serious economic crisis like Pakistan have been also badly affected by mental health issues during the pandemic.
The chief guest, Professor Haroon Ahmed said coronavirus had started affecting the mental health of people all over the world, and in Pakistan people with a newer type of depression and symptoms of PTSD were approaching psychiatrists for treatment.
“People are complaining of symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to COVID-19- related stress and experiences. A newer type of depression, which is not clinically depressed, is also being observed where people are feeling lonely and [exhibiting] a lack of interest in daily life. These issues have a close relation to COVID-19 and its impacts on the daily life of people.”
Professor Haroon said that he was glad that people are now breaking taboos and openly admitting that they are under treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. He noted that an estimated 70% of depression is due to a biochemical imbalance in the brain, which is not the fault of the patient.
“I have been saying this for the last several decades that there is no need to hide mental illnesses,” he said and added that mental health was given low importance but it was a high prevalence health issue in our society.
Meanwhile, president-elect WPA Professor Afzal Javed claimed that the prevalence of mental health issues was not less than cancer or cardiac ailments in the world, and it was estimated that now 25 to 30% of the world’s population was suffering from some kind of mental illness.
It’s right time to assign more resources for mental well-being, treatment, and cure in countries like Pakistan, he added.