Stories about mental health

Moving on from trauma, moving on from Peshawar

The Taliban’s brutal attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 claimed the lives of over 140 people including 132 children. While hundreds of survivors of this mass shooting need physical rehabilitation resulting from bullet wounds and other physical injuries, the psychological impact of this traumatic event may have a long lasting effect on school children, both in Peshawar and across the nation. It is imperative that the trauma victims must get immediate psychiatric help, and secondary support be provided to children in other parts of the country who, although geographically distant, may still be troubled by this ...

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Busting myths on World Mental Health Day 2014

Every year on October 10th, people all over the world commemorate World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental illnesses and to support efforts for their treatments. Psychiatry, the branch of medicine which deals with mental illness, hasn’t developed much in Pakistan; the treatment and support for people suffering from mental health issues are almost non-existent. Since there are various myths about mental illnesses that cause major road blocks in their treatments, I will take this opportunity to debunk some of those myths. Psychiatric illnesses are the result of some evil activity It is a common phenomenon to pass moral judgments about psychiatric ...

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Do you need a ‘reason’ to be depressed?

‘An unemployed man, tired of the financial crises, hangs himself to death.’ ‘A woman takes her own life before killing her children due to conflicts and problems at home’. ‘A jilted lover shoots himself in front of the girl he wants to marry.’ The lack of awareness about mood disturbances, including depression, are obvious by the kind of media coverage of the incidents of suicide, which often broadly and superficially look at the obvious external stressors and fail to highlight it as a mental health issue that can affect even those who apparently may not have any external social or/and financial stressors. The recent ...

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Stop ridiculing the mentally ill

Individuals with mental health disorders are often the victims of violence and there is wide-spread discrimination directed towards them, whether by intent, ignorance or insensitivity. They are often the victim of jokes or are ridiculed for their behaviour. This attitude can make life difficult for them and present major obstacles to recovery. It is hard for them to find stable employment, living arrangements and relationships because of diminished self-esteem and weak social support. I came across two instances recently of major discrimination against people with mental health disabilities in Pakistan. In the first instance, a TV host, on a recent Ramazan ...

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ADHD: Why can’t you sit still kid?

While growing up, in school, did you ever notice that distracted, uninterested class mate, who would just not sit still, was annoyingly talkative and almost always failed in studies? Did you follow up as to what he managed to do later in his life? From my experience, most of these students either leave school at an early age to do something else or are sent abroad to study and work. Though some of them do very well later in life, a majority of them have problems in their social and financial matters soon after. Most of us are so busy in ...

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Lahore’s Dar-ul-Sukun, now an institute of torture and abuse

If one begins to think about welfare institutions in Pakistan, Dar-ul-Sukun definitely comes to mind. It is located within the premises of the Punjab Welfare Society, Lahore. It houses psychiatric patients, both male and female, in separate wards. Most of the residents living there have been forsaken by their families. In some cases, monetary support is the only sign of love that the families exhibit; in other cases, brief visits are made to quell the guilt-inducing inner voice. The residents of Dar-ul-Sukun live their lives haunted by the memories of their past, which are both bitter and sweet. Their present is different though. It ...

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Yes, depression can kill you

In accordance with World Health Organization (WHO), depression is all set to become the second most fatal disease by 2020 with only coronary heart problems preceding it. These figures are alarming as they warn us about a disease of which little is known. In addition, it is not even acknowledged as a proper ailment in many quarters of our society. The truth of the matter is that depression is a debilitating disease that sucks pleasure out of the lives of its sufferers and shrinks their self-esteem to almost nothing. Going about a daily routine turns into a draining struggle, and hopelessness ...

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