Pakistan mental health country profile

Salman Karim, Khalid Saeed, Mowaddat Hussain Rana, Malik Hussain Mubbashar, Rachel Jenkins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Republic of Pakistan is a South East Asian country with a population of over 140.7 million. Its population is fast growing and the majority (70%) live in rural areas with a feudal or tribal value system. The economy is dependent on agriculture and 35% of the population live below the poverty line. Islam is the main religion and 'mental illnesses' are stigmatized and widely perceived to have supernatural causes. The traditional healers along with psychiatric services are the main mental health service providers. The number of trained mental health professionals is small as compared to the population demands and specialist services are virtually non-existent. Lack of data on prevalence of various mental illnesses and monitory constraints are the major hurdles in the development of mental health services. A number of innovative programmes to develop indigenous models of care like the 'Community Mental Health Programme' and 'Schools Mental Health Programme' have been developed. These programmes have been found effective in reducing stigma and increase awareness of mental illness amongst the adults and children living in rural areas. Efforts by the government and mental health professionals have led to the implementation of a 'National Mental Health Policy' and 'Mental Health Act' in 2001. These aim at integrating mental health services with the existing health services, improving mental health care delivery and safeguarding the rights of mentally ill people. A favourable political will and the help of international institutions like the World Health Organization are required to achieve these aims.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-92
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004




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