20 million Pakistanis suffer from mental health issues, say experts

ISLAMABADa: More than 20 million people in Pakistan making 10 percent of the aggregate population suffer from brain and neurological issues and disorders, specialists said at a ceremony on Saturday.

mental health issues

“But in spite of the alarming number mental health remains the most neglected field in the country,” said Aslam Shaikh, Country Manager for Lundbeck, addressing a ceremony organised by the Embassy of Denmark to mark 100th anniversary of the Lundbeck Institute.

“These figures indicate the need to advance more public awareness for improved analysis and effective mental health treatments in Pakistan,” he said. “In Pakistan, it is extremely disastrous that due to shortage of mental health specialists, mental health facilities and relatively low levels of awareness about mental issue, millions of people and their families suffer each day.”

In countries where people are confronting social and security difficulties such as in Pakistan, he said, one saw an increase in anxiety, stress, and trauma, which were contributing factors to the development of mental health problems.

Lundbeck established the institute in 1997 to assist reduce worldwide burden of brain disease by educating healthcare experts around the world. They were also working with mental health professionals in Pakistan to raise awareness, decrease stigma and contribute to education and better understanding of brain disease in Pakistan.

Shaikh thanked the Embassy of Denmark for hosting Lundbeck’s 100th anniversary and using the event to make a platform to advance awareness about mental health, the socio-economic costs of brain diseases and the importance of proper mental health treatment in Pakistan.

Speaking on the event, Ms. Helle Nielsen, Charge d’Affaires of Danish Embassy said Denmark was proud to be celebrating a prominent Danish company’s 100th anniversary in Pakistan.

“Lundbeck is an incredible example of a company that provides complex pharmaceutical solutions to people worldwide, including in Pakistan. Even today, 100 years later, Lundbeck continues to develop products that assist patients and societal movement. For any company, the ability to stay relevant and provide worth to customers for a century is a remarkable achievement.”

Prominent Psychiatrist Prof. Fareed Aslam Minhas, Head of The Institute of Psychiatry, WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Training and Research, Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi, in his comments said there was requirement for collaborative efforts to diminish stigma of mental health in the society. “There is need for coordination of health professionals, industry and policy makers to devise a strategy for better mental health in Pakistan,” said Minhas.

The event was well attended by eminent psychiatrics, doctors, health officials and other key stakeholders.

Lundbeck, a Danish company is the main pharmaceutical company in the world committed and entirely focused on research within neuroscience and development and marketing of treatments for brain disease. It is worldwide perceived for having helped hundreds of millions of people suffering from brain disease, such as depression, alcohol dependence, schizophrenia, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. It has been operational in Pakistan over the past 30 years.

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