02/03/2021 By Farhan Sajid
Mental health refers to a person’s well-being on various levels, including psychological, emotional, and social levels.
It helps the person to think, feel and act properly, and allows one to assess their abilities. You must have read about it in the odyssey online, if a person is unable to manage his mental abilities, or cannot cope effectively with various stressors of life, one becomes a victim of mental illnesses.
Mental illnesses occur due to various factors including family history, stresses in life, trauma, substance abuse, etc.
Mental health organizations are the agencies that work for the betterment of the mental health of the public. These organizations work to promote mental health among the general public. They create awareness about various mental health problems and provide a haven for people suffering from mental health disorders. These provide necessary information to the people regarding mental health.
They also provide information regarding various mental health professionals, so that people can have easy access to them if they face any problem. Mental Health Organizations also research their respective areas and have publications that give relevant information about mental disorders and interventions for them.
Certain mental health organizations across the world promote mental health on both national and international levels. These organizations create awareness about mental health, provide guidelines for professional practice, have their research publications regarding mental health, and provide intervention programs for mental disorders.
One of the most prominent mental health organization is the American Psychological Association (APA). APA gives information about mental disorders, their symptoms, causes, treatments, etc. it also provides information regarding positive psychology and ways to cope with daily life problems/ stresses in life. It also has a database and publication which provides knowledge to the professionals.
Other mental health organizations across the world include the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), etc. These organizations are active in promoting mental health.
In Pakistan, there are very few mental health organizations that are working to promote mental health and are active in their domains.
Young Psychologists Association (YPA), Pakistan Association for Mental Health, Karwan e Hayat, MASHAL, etc. are some organizations that are working actively in Pakistan for the betterment of the mental health of the general public and give them necessary information regarding mental health.
These organizations are in contact with the stakeholders and provide services to the people.
Mental health organizations are working in Pakistan but their services are limited. There is a very little percentage of the population that is aware of these organizations. Moreover, these organizations provide their services in limited areas which are specified in the major cities of the country. Hence, people who live in small towns, backward and remote areas, have little to no access to these organizations.
Mental health organizations should increase their members by giving membership and training to the students of psychology in various universities. The larger amount of students that belong to various cities can become their ambassadors and workers, and promote the work of these organizations.
They can promote their organization, and mental health overall by forming offices in different cities across the country. Through this, these organizations would be able to increase their access to the general public. They would be able to enhance their scope and work effectively throughout the country.
Mental health organizations should work efficiently and effectively to create awareness regarding mental health. They should create advertisements, run campaigns, publish pamphlets, etc. to promote mental health and create awareness regarding mental health and mental disorders.
They should provide information to the public in easy words and an understandable manner, so that people who are illiterate or are not highly qualified, should have an understanding of these matters. They can also take advantage of social media to promote mental health to the general public. These organizations should work to reduce stigmas and break taboos regarding mental health.
One major issue faced by mental health organizations is the lack of resources regarding mental health. These include scarcity in financial resources as well as lack of trained mental health professionals. They can deal with the former issue by requesting donations from the more fortunate people and larger industries.
They should also coordinate with the government to provide funds to these organizations. If they have more financial resources, more people who may not be able to afford treatment of mental health can be treated.
These organizations should also have access and coordination with the primary healthcare institutions, and make sure of the presence of their representatives at the places so that they can increase access to mental health and its disorders, and also promote their organizations.
These organizations should organize training programs for the fresh graduates of psychology, so that they become better in their professional practice, and could effectively deal with their clients. In this way, they would be able to become a productive citizen of the country.
These organizations should also give lectures and arrange seminars for the professionals who are already practicing in their respective institutes so that they get a chance to become better in their practice and can update their knowledge regarding various disorders and therapies.
These organizations should also undergo research in their fields and publish journals regarding new researches. This would help in upgrading the levels of treatments in the respective fields. Professionals may be able to devise new therapies or improvise old therapies and intervention strategies to treat mental health disorders. They may also aware of the public regarding positive ways of living to prevent mental disorders.
Pakistan is one of those less privileged countries where people have less awareness regarding mental health and very little access to mental health professionals. Also, there is no licensing procedure and practice guidelines for the professionals. There are no set criteria for the professionals to do practice and run clinics.
Many less/ untrained people are running their independent clinics, which is doing more harm than good. Also, they do not follow any ethical guidelines for their practice. Various mental health organizations along with professionals should sign a petition to the government to create a regulating authority for mental health. This should work on an international level. This regulating body should set a licensing procedure, which should be necessary for practice by the professionals. It should set criteria for the required education and required amount of supervised training for the professional practice.
There should be ethical guidelines for practice, which should be followed by them. It should provide access to the professionals regarding databases and publications. Also, the government should make changes in the constitution and the legal system regarding mental health and mental health professionals. Anyone who is caught violating these laws should be sued. They should be punished accordingly if they break the law, or practice unethically.
Also, steps should be taken for the protection of mental health professionals. There should be a proper channel for investigation, and protect the professionals from fake claims or litigation.