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World Mental Health Day observed

“Depression and anxiety disorders have high rate among Afghans.  Around 72 percent of people affected by depression are women,” said Feroz.

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) marked the World Mental Health Day (WMHD) here on Saturday. The MoPH termed mental illness as a nationwide problem.  Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Public Health, Ferozuddin Feroz, said that women are more prone to mental health problems than men.

“Depression and anxiety disorders are the major mental illnesses that have high rate among Afghans. Nearly 72 percent of people affected by depression are women and 60 percent of those suffering from anxiety disorders are men,” he added.

He said that currently 300 centers are providing mental health services. He added that lack sufficient capacity to provide satisfactory services to people with mental health issues.

“Lack of mental health workers and insufficient budged are the two main problems that prevent the MoPH from providing mental health services to affected people across the country,” Feroz said, adding that the MoPH is committed to raise the number of mental health centers from 300 to 500.

He termed war, unemployment and poverty as major factors behind raise of mental health problems among Afghans.

According to a survey jointly conducted by the Afghan and US government across the country, there are three million drug addicts in Afghanistan. It is said that drug addiction is outcome of mental problems.

The theme for World Mental Health Day, marked on 10 October, is “Dignity in mental health”. The day provides public awareness and opportunities for all health employees to talk about their needs and accelerate their efforts for decreasing mental illness.

Medical Superintendent of Alawddin Mental Health Hospital, Khwaja Siddiqi, said that they receive around around 200 patients of mental health issues on daily basis. He added that majority of patients, who come to the hospital for treatment, are women. “In most cases they complain of domestic violence and poverty,” he said. Siddiqi added that they are providing the patience both consultation and therapy for free.

Najib, who suffers from anxiety disorders, said that as a result of the mental health illness people usually disgrace him.

Najib is one of the thousands people with mental health issues who is deprived of his human rights in Afghanistan.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that: “All human beings are born equal in dignity and in rights.”

In the same time, the Preamble of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that: “Discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person”.

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