Ministry of Planning and WHO Unite to Improve Mental Health in Pakistan

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Global Priority’.

The Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives (MoPDSI) has organized a special event for World Mental Health Day today, the theme of which is ‘make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’.

This year’s theme is highly relevant in light of the ongoing humanitarian and economic crisis in the country as one in every five people in flood-affected districts might need mental healthcare, as per a press release by the ministry.

It read, “Some of the mental disorders are leading causes of illness and disability, and are responsible for immense suffering, premature death, and suicides. Mental healthcare is not just a public health issue; it is now widely recognized as a developmental issue”.

The press release detailed that one of the objectives of World Mental Health Day is to “initiate a conversation about the need to prioritize mental health agenda and address the huge gap in the existing services”.

The MoPDSI further stated that it has developed a rights-based and scalable innovative digital model for evidence-driven and multi-layered mental healthcare in consideration of local needs and resources.

As part of this model, it is also launching a very important resource for the capacity building of primary healthcare to respond to mental health challenges. Called the MHGAP-HIG, this internationally-recognized guide has been specifically adapted for Pakistan and has also been converted into a digital application.

The launching ceremony will be held at the MoPD&SI and will be chaired by the Federal Minister for PD&SI, Ahsan Iqbal. It will be attended by WHO Country Representative, Dr. Palitha Mahipala; representatives of the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination; provincial ministries; and key development partners, including UNICEF, Mental Health Academia, and other relevant stakeholders.

What is World Mental Health Day and Why is it Important?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), World Mental Health Day 2022, which falls on 10 October, is a chance to “rekindle our efforts to protect and improve mental health”.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a 25 percent increase in the occurrence of anxiety and depression worldwide. It created a global crisis for mental well-being, while services, skills, and funding for mental health remain in short supply, and fall far below what is needed, especially in low and middle-income countries.

Besides the anxiety and depression caused by the pandemic, the WHO says that “growing social and economic inequalities, protracted conflicts, violence and public health emergencies affecting whole populations are threatening progress towards improved wellbeing”.

Theme For the Year 2022

This year’s #WorldMentalHealthDay theme is: “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority”.

The WHO is clear about what needs to happen: “We must deepen the value and commitment we give to mental well-being as individuals, communities, and governments and match that value with more commitment, engagement, and investment by all stakeholders, across all sectors”.

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