World Mental Health Day being celebrated today


Hamza is a 9-year-old special child who spends his whole day at home. His father is a doctor while mother is an educated housewife. His two brothers, Umar, aged 11, and Usman, aged 7, are school-going kids with appropriate mental health and physique. Hamza’s mental growth is stagnant since his birth. He is physically fit now, but his mental growth is a severe concern for the family.
“We have consulted top physicians and tried ‘dam durood’ but neither the expertise of physicians nor the prayers of ours’ and others’ pirs helped us with our peace of mind,” said Ayesha, Hamza’s mother, adding she could not put her child in isolation neither in any other shelter houses. This is not the story of only Hamza, but that of hundreds of mentally retarded children who are suffering the same plight that hurts the family members in particular.
With an aim of promotion of more open discussion about mental disorders, investments in prevention and treatment services, World Mental Health Day is going to be observed all over the world today (Monday). The theme for World Mental Health Day 2011 is “The Great Push: Investing in mental health.” Pakistan will observe this day with no mental health policy for adolescents and children and almost half of its population under 18 (45 million) and deprived of trained child and adolescent psychiatrists in the public sector.
The treatment gap for mental, neurological and substance-use disorders is formidable, especially in poor countries. Physical and mental health are intertwined. There is a real need to deal with the mental health problems of people with chronic physical illnesses and the physical care of mental health patients through continued and integrated care. World Mental Health Day, which is supported by the United Nations (UN), is annually held on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide.
Mental disorders affect nearly 12 percent of the world’s population – about 450 million or one out of every four people around the world – will experience a mental illness that will benefit from diagnosis and treatment. World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show that 154 million people globally suffer from depression that is a form of mental illness. According to WHO, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which people realise their own potential, to cope with normal life stresses; to work productively and contribute to their community.