It is a struggle and a challenge in Pakistan to even admit to having a mental health condition, it is even more difficult for people to accept it as a disability. Psychosocial disability arises when someone with a mental health condition interacts with a social environment and face barriers while interacting in the society on an equal basis to other and the environment becomes disabling due to legal, attitudinal, or environmental barriers.
In Pakistan even if one accepts having a mental health condition, they rarely get the help they need. If not that, they are taken to psychiatric care facilities where they are kept on medications for far too long and the societies label them as “crazies”.
In Pakistan there are so many public and private institutions, do you think people living inside those institutions or psychiatric care clinics are now left with any dignity? Don’t you think keeping a person locked inside a care facility, a locked room, or confinement inside the home by its own family is a crime? Don’t you think this restricts the persons ability to mobilize inside the community and live his or her life with full liberty as another member of his or her family is living? Now that person as he is tagged as a “mad person” in his society, no one will give him the opportunity to work, get married, speak out his/her opinion, attend family events etc.
If we see this situation when we call that person a person with a psychosocial disability, the term disability opens a wide range of opportunities and doors for him/her to live with liberty and equality. The CRPD is the only legal binding which respects the persons with disabilities dignity and provides full legal capacity to the person to enjoy all fundamental rights on an equal basis to others.
With almost no awareness about mental health condition in Pakistan and in our communities people with psychosocial disabilities can be subjected to cultural biases and myths, such as believing in spiritual possession or lack of religious belief as the reasons, leading to incorrect treatments that may even be harmful (Amir-Ud-Din, 2020).
#WhatWENeed is not isolation in institutions, mental health laws or psychiatric care facilities but, inclusion in family, community, friends and homes
#WhatWENeed is an identity of being a disabled person rather than a labeling of a mad person
#WhatWENeed is alternative treatment, recovery and therapies rather than highly affecting psychiatric drugs
#WhatWENeed is awareness in the community about inclusion and peer support we require rather than taking us psychiatric facilities for treatment
#WhatWENeed is policies which provide us with support programs, and social protection
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Amir-Ud-Din, D. R. (2020, Feb). Dispelling myths about mental health. Retrieved from The News:
Nisar M, M. R. (2019 ). erceptions Pertaining to Clinical Depression in Karachi, Pakistan. Cureus. . NIH.
United Nations. (2022, May 6). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Retrieved from Un.org:
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