WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2021 [BACKUP]
INSTITUTE OF PSYCHIATRY RAWALPINDI MEDICAL UNIVERSITY
The Chief Guest for the occasion was the esteemed Dr. Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan. The event was attended by Faculty members, doctors, researchers, mental health professionals and students.
The session commenced with recitation of the Holy Quran, after which resident Dr. Sara Afzal introduced the audience to the theme and slogan of this year’s World Mental Health Day, being “Mental Health in an Unequal World” and “Mental Health Care for All; let’s make it a reality”
She explained the relevance of the theme to the current situation, citing how the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted mental health globally, thus impressing on the need to scale up mental health services.
Resident Dr. Maryam Javed presented a clinical case of a lady who had developed depressive episode in the context of her severe COVID-19 infection.
Prof. Fazal ur Rahman, Head of the Medical Unit at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, enlightened the audience on the medical perspective of the case. He quoted various factors involved in increasing the mental health burden of COVID-19 affectees. Dr. Qurrat Ulain, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, talked about post-COVID psychiatric morbidity, summarizing the results of mental health research in the context of COVID-19, stating that the prevalence of depression and anxiety during the pandemic is as high as 31.4% and 31.9% respectively. She also described the deleterious immediate and long-term consequences of the pandemic with respect to mental health.
Prof. Asad Tamizuddin Nizami, Chairman Institute of Psychiatry, shed light on the inequity of mental health services across the globe. He explained how the pandemic has further taxed the already meagre mental health resources and stressed upon the need for greater investment in mental health to cater for these growing needs. He summarized his department’s role in this respect and informed the audience about the various MHPSS & Psychological First Aid sessions organized by IOP to train the personnel involved in COVID management.
He also talked about the Helpline set up by Institute of Psychiatry to allow uninterrupted service provision when regular OPD had to be suspended during the peak days of the pandemic. He briefed the audience on the numerous research projects, such as the recent most IMPASS project – a research grant to the IOP by the National Institute of Heath Research UK to look at the impact
of Covid 19 on the Mental Health Services in Pakistan & South Asia. This research collaboration is between Pakistan, Bangladesh & UK, which is underway at the Institutes of Psychiatry. He also narrated the message by the President PPS Prof Imtiaz Ahmed Dogar regarding the MOU with the Punjab Health Dept for the training of Primary Health Care Physicians for the WHO mhGAP Training The Chief Guest Dr. Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan, appreciated Pakistan’s exemplary response to COVID-19. He spoke on the need to integrate mental health services at the grass-root levels, starting from primary care facilities.
He thanked the Institute of Psychiatry for successfully arranging the event.
Souvenier was presented to the Chief Guest by Prof. Asad Nizami, after which the attendees proceeded for MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WALK