Fits and Starts

 

Waiting for their turn

By Zubeida Mustafa

According to experts from WHO, nearly one out of ten people in Pakistan suffer from mental illness at one stage or another in their lives. It is estimated that 14 million people in the country and 1.2 million in Karachi need psychiatric attention. There are only 200 psychiatrists and 3500 hospital beds to take care of these patients.

Appalling figures no doubt. They, however, do not tell the whole story. Since psychiatric conditions are not major killers they tend to be ignored. Yet the fact is that out of the ten leading causes of disability (in terms of the number of years lived with disability) five are psychiatric disorders. They are debilitating and account for a tenth of the disease burden in all societies.

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