World Mental Health Day observed by Punjab government in Lahore


LAHORE: Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH) organized an awareness walk to mark the World Mental Health Day on Tuesday.

Punjab Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique headed the walk, which began from PIMH and ended at Jillani Park. PIMH Executive Director Dr Nasir Mehmood Bhatti, doctors, nurses, paramedics and patients also participated in the walk.

Rafique, in an address following the end of the walk, said that care and a positive attitude from the families of people suffering from intellectual disabilities were vital for patients’ early recovery. He also emphasised the society’s responsibility to be caring toward such people and not make fun of them.

In highlighting the Punjab government’s efforts in helping people with intellectual disabilities, the minister stated that treatment facilities for such patients were being improved. Furthermore, full-fledged psychiatry departments were working in all tertiary care hospitals. The government had enhanced these facilities at the district headquarters (DHQ) level and psychiatrists were posted at DHQ hospitals to provide treatment to patients, he said.

The minister also said that the health department was working toward introducing amendments in the 2014 legislation relating to mental health. In addition, a mental health authority was being launched, he said.

The minister lauded the services of doctors, nurses and paramedics of PIMH, saying that they were doing a tremendous job of taking care of patients whose blood relatives had discarded them and did not return to enquire after their health.

Speaking at the occasion, PIMH Executive Director Dr Bhatti said that the institution provided treatment and rehabilitation facilities to the patients. He said that patients who started recovery were shifted to the rehabilitation center where they were taught skills such as painting, making handicrafts and music, according to patients’ interests and aptitudes. He said that this eased the pressure on the patients’ minds and also prepared them to adjust to the society after they had fully recovered.

Khawaja Salman Rafique inaugurated an exhibition of the paintings and handicrafts made by the inmates of the rehabilitation center at the occasion. He appreciated the patients’ artistic skills and awarded a cash prize of Rs 10 thousand to them from his own pocket.

Various renowned psychiatrists, including King Edward Medical University’s Psychiatry Head of Department Professor Dr Aftab Asif, also spoke at the occasion, throwing light on the prevention and treatment of mental diseases and highlighting society’s responsibilities toward people with intellectual disabilities.