30% increase in mental illnesses due to COVID-19 in Pakistan

According to national and international health experts and recent surveys performed by the Sindh Mental Health Authority, a state-run government entity, COVID-19 has caused a 30% increase in mental diseases in Pakistan in recent months. According to the organization’s most recent survey, depression and suicidal thoughts are two of the most common concerns among coronavirus sufferers. These issues can be found in those who have recovered from COVID.

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Prof. Dr Asim Shah, the executive vice chair of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, US, said that during the pandemic, at least a 25% to 30% increase in mental health issues was observed in Pakistan, as the virus also triggered mental illness in people who recovered from the infectious disease. Notably, Pakistan is in the midst of its fifth deadly COVID pandemic, with cases increasing by the day. In March 2020, the country’s first coronavirus case was reported.

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The bulk of cases with a high COVID positive ratio are seen in Sindh and Karachi, and Omicron variant cases are on the rise, making the survey a cause for concern in Pakistan. According to Khawaja, a professional psychologist, 25% of people admitted to having suicidal thoughts after becoming infected or even after recovering from disease.

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According to the newspaper, Afridi, who is also the editor of the Journal of Pakistan Psychiatric Society, claimed that factors such as unemployment have harmed people’s mental health in Pakistan. He also stated that Pakistan does not have enough psychiatrists to deal with the crisis.

“Pakistan currently has 600 psychiatrists, which is insufficient for a population of 210 million people, where mental diseases are on the rise owing to a variety of social and economic factors,” he said.

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