Around 154 million people in world suffer from depression: Dr. Memon

HYDERABAD: Around 154 million people suffer from depression in different parts of the world, among them 25 million people are in grip of  schizophrenia, impairment in the perception of reality.

Eminent consultant psychiatrist Dr Abdul Hameed Memon addressing a seminar on the topic of mental health at S J Institute here on Monday said that the mental illnesses are  common to countries of all sorts and people with these disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and increased death rates involving suicides.

He said that there were many factors contributory to high rates of mental health problems in Pakistan. The inter-family marriages, high rates of birth injuries, economic decline, growing unemployment and rapidly changing cultural and social values are some of the causes, he added.

Dr Memon said that untreated disorders bring about unhealthy behaviour, non-diminished immune functioning. He said Pakistan is a country of 160 million people and a large segment of its population suffers from mental illnesses.

Dr. Abdul Hameed Memon said that due to lack of awareness, people with psychological and emotional problems often visit faith healers, spiritual leaders, homeopathic doctors, magicians and hakims only to be abused by them. There are limited numbers of mental health professionals in the country, he said.

Dr. Abdul Hameed Memon underlined the need for improving psychiatric education at undergraduate and postgraduate level, adding the foreign experts participating in educational research workshop recommended that one third of final year MBBS should be utilised for studying psychiatry.

Dr. Abdul Hameed Memon suggested that steps should be taken to remove the stigma attached to mental health problems and their treatment.

He said medical research had discovered new drugs and therapies to treat mental disorders, but mental illness is the most misunderstood amongst illnesses and that capitalism was responsible for the increase in mental abnormities.

He said social and economic pressures were making people mentally sick and the only way to save oneself from the illness was to lead a moderate life.

Dr. Abdul Hameed Memon said that depression has always been a major mental disorder in under developed countries because the objects which give birth to depression are mainly the country being under developed.

The factors which impose depression in human minds are economic factors,lack of social security, high level of joblessness, ill health, no proper law and order, he added.

Dr. Abdul Hameed Memon said that these factors destroy the human health of the people living under its umbrella and increase the depression in their minds, which ultimately affect their mental health.