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‘Deteriorating’ Mental Health Requires More Attention in Pakistan

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Danyia Khurram

When we talk about mental health, we’re talking about our emotional, psychological, and even physical well being. It determines how we think, take decisions, and cope with our daily lives. It also greatly affects our relationships, appetite, sleep schedules, self esteem, and confidence. Some of the main types of mental disorders are anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and stress disorder. Most of us, feel anxious, which is normal and often a healthy emotion, however when a person may feel disproportionate levels of anxiety, we call it an anxiety disorder.

A lot of teenagers today are facing stress and anxiety, due to multiple reasons which may include, low self esteem, academic and peer pressure, or childhood traumas. Unfortunately, in our country, very few people are educated about mental health. It is estimated that 50 million people in Pakistan suffer from mental illness, and over 34% of them suffer from anxiety.

According to recent survey that we conducted among teenagers, more than 50% people feel anxious on a daily basis and only 6% have sought professional help. Mental illnesses can go away if treated, just like our physical health.

Disorders like stress and anxiety are often taken for granted, but if not treated, one has greater tendency to involve in drugs, self harm, strained relationships with friends and family, and poor performance at work or school. These disorders may also affect our physical health greatly, some of the consequences may include high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms and a heart stroke.

In Pakistan, most people do not seek professional help due to the societal pressure and stigma, which should be avoided in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Licensed psychiatrists and psychologists can diagnose anxiety and stress disorders and can prescribe medicines, or psychotherapy based on the problem.

We should all prioritise our mental health, and take steps to improve it, as mental health is not a destination, it’s a process, it’s about how you drive not where you’re going.

— The writer is an O Level student