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KARACHI: The state of mental health awareness and its services in Pakistan remains a big issue. As the statistics show that in Pakistan, over 15 million people are suffering from some form of mental illness.

However, only a small percentage of the people suffering from a mental health condition are able to seek the proper help they need.

This is mostly due to the social class differences and general awareness regarding where one can seek the proper help they need; leaving the most vulnerable groups susceptible to mental health conditions that could have a good prognosis, but the failure to seek help on time tilts the scale for them.

These groups include rural areas, children who are out of school, underserved communities, and slums in urban settings. Therefore, keeping in mind the social and class barriers that are wide in Pakistan, Sindh Mental Health Authority (SMHA) and Charter for Compassion, Pakistan (CfC) are proud to announce the implementation of mental health activities in the province of Sindh. The two entities are to join hands with Thar Foundation for the initiation of mental health activities in the province and have signed an MoU here on Thursday.

The ceremony highlighted the coalition between Sindh Mental Health Authority, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical College, Civil Hospital, Sir Cowasjee Institute of Psychiatry, Thar Foundation, and Charter for Compassion. The entities will work under a public-private partnership to provide mental health counselling services to the people in Sindh through SMHA’s UAN Helpline: 021-111-117-642.

Sindh Mental Health Authority has already inaugurated its helpline services at the Sir Cowasjee Institute of Psychiatry and Jinnah Post Graduate Medical College. The helpline caters to different mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, substance abuse, self-harm/ suicide, and PTSD. The services are now to be inaugurated at the Civil Hospital in Karachi, and CfC Pakistan is to be the implementing partner for the UAN and will oversee the capacity building, management, of the psychologists and the call service through its elaborate health information management system under its mental health programme.

President CfC Amin Hashwani said: “Charter for Compassion is excited to partner with the government for the mental health of people in Sindh. We look forward to working with SMHA and its affiliated hospitals.”

Chairman SMHA Dr Karim Ahmed Khawaja said: “We look forward to working with CfC Pakistan in relation to mental health and well-being.

We hope this step would lead to increased awareness regarding mental health in the people of Sindh and enable them to get the help they need.”

Naseer Memon said of Thar Foundation said the foundation is excited to partner with SMHA and Charter for Compassion for the well-being of people in Tharparker.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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