Many cases of mental problems go unreported
KABUL (PAN): Many Afghans have been suffering from mental health problems, but most of such cases go unreported due to lack of awareness about the illness, the Ministry of Public Health said on Friday, adding its efforts to increase awareness about mental health are underway.
On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, annually held on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide, the ministry said in a statement 50 percent people in the world suffered from mental health related problems, but gave no percentage for such patients in Afghanistan.
It said main factors behind mental illness among Afghans were the decades of war, social problems and poverty.
Last year on this day, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that more than 60 percent of Afghans, mostly women, suffered from psychosocial problems or mental disorders. The WHO said that because only a fraction of the health budget is spent on mental health, a large majority of people suffering from these disorders received no care at all.
“In our country, many people have developed mental health problems over the past years, but many cases remained in the dark due to lack of awareness and ability to access treatment,” the statement said.
The most affected in this regard are women, children, aged people, people with disablilites, refugees and poverty-stricken individuals, it said, adding the continued war, unemployment and poverty remained key factors.
The health ministry said improving condition of the affected people had been a priority of its national health strategy for 2011-15.
The Public Health Ministry’s 30 percent doctors, nurses and counselors had been trained in area of mental health, the statement said, adding 250 male and female psychiatrists worked in the sector.
It continued 64 counselors had been professionally trained and many others were being trained, saying it was trying to encourage and improve the capacity of private sector hospitals dealing with mental health patients.
The ministry is trying to strengthen health services for mentally sick patients through improving the capacity of privately run hospitals and extend emergency relief programme to schools and universities.
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