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Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity or apathy that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. People with a depressed mood can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, angry, ashamed or restless. Anxiety and depressive disorders are common in all regions of the world.
They constitute a substantial proportion of the global burden of disease and are projected to form the second most common cause of disability by 2020. Low-income countries like Pakistan face a tough challenge in this respect where only a low percentage of gross domestic products are allocated to health services. In Pakistan depression affects almost 34 percent of people. Both genetic and environmental factors play an important role in its pathogenesis. According to a research around 35.7 percent citizens of Karachi are affected with this mental illness, while 43 percent from Quetta and 53.4 percent from Lahore are also affected.
Depression is affecting every class of society in a variety of ways, where adults are losing interest or pleasure in their usual activities, feeling worthless, tend to isolate from society, face irritability, fatigue, sleeping problems, and thoughts of death or suicide. Looking at the present situation of Pakistan, where terrorism is at its peak, people are living in dilapidated conditions without proper access to basic facilities like health, sanitation, proper housing, education and other it is truly being called that the Pakistani nation is triggered by all social problems that exist in society.
In Pakistani society, poverty is at its peak, socioeconomic crises are there in Pakistani society, unemployment is rising, the population is expanding. How to earn a living? Is the question in the minds of every Pakistani. When the basic necessities of people are not fulfilled it creates a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness and one way to escape from all these feelings is committing suicide.
According to the sources, almost 60 people lost their lives in the year 2009 in Karachi by attempting suicide and 20 people were saved in different localities so anyone can easily estimate the annual death ratio through suicide in Pakistan. Let’s discuss in detail the reasons behind the increasing rate of depression in Pakistan are:
Pakistan is a third world country controlled by corrupt government leadership and corrupt officials, almost every Pakistani is in debt even the newborn babies, industries are closing down, decent businesses and job opportunities are only left for elite class people; irresponsible behavior of government failed to give the basic necessities to its people. Pakistan government gets a huge amount of financial Aid for the rehabilitation of its people, but all the Aid goes into the pockets of politicians and corrupt government officers. Now the condition has become so bad that almost 60% of Pakistanis are living below the poverty line, deprived of their basic needs like shelter, save food, water, and clothing.
Currently, the unemployed rate in Pakistan is 12%, more than 3 million people in Pakistan are unemployed. The biggest reason for unemployment in Pakistan is concerned with the backwardness of the agriculture sector. Agriculture is the biggest sector of our economy that contributes 20.9% to GDP and 44% of people get jobs from this sector directly or indirectly. Unemployment in this sector is from two sides.
Firstly, the adoption of latest machinery and capital intensive technology decreases the demand for labor. Secondly, there is less availability of fertilizers, pesticides, quality seeds, the absence of land reforms and lack of agriculture education. Due to these factors, the agriculture sector is not expanding which leads to general and disguised unemployment.
The industrial sector is the second largest sector of our economy and contributes 19% to national income. This sector should employ a large number of laborers, but due to backwardness, it is employing a small number of people. There is a huge difference between the demand and supply for labor. The absence of such kind of planning to produce doctors, engineers, scientists, etc., should be done according to the need of different sectors of the economy.
Further water scarcity and electricity breakdowns have ruined many industries and businesses in Pakistan, which further increased unemployment.
When a person is unemployed or he cannot satisfy the needs of his family, or he is not well respected by the society, then this creates a sense of failure, hopelessness, and rejection which ultimately drags the person to depression.
3) Lack Of Education
Education is one of the basic need through which one can change his life, but in Pakistan, everyone is not blessed with quality Education, Pakistan has a dual educational system divided into Government and private institutions. The opportunities to get a good education are very limited which are further dominated by corruption and other unethical practices, therefore, are usually occupied by the elite people. Hence only a few are able to make their career and successful lives. This creates a sense of failure , fear helplessness.
Besides these other reasons include, eating unhealthy food, spending less time with other people,doing less physical work, getting more self-conscious about looks, having greed for more and more money , improper sleeping patterns , and getting less sunlight.
These are the major reasons behind the increased level of depression among people. These reasons are affecting people of every age, gender, and social class, but according to a research people from 18- 29 years of age are affected more than adults. It means Pakistani youth is affected more.
Youth is the backbone of any nation. Symbolically it represents hope and strength.
Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the hope and strength of the nation have suffered a serious blow. Due to the tremendous rate of unemployment, inflation and energy crisis and no life security, the psychological pressure on youth has increased manifolds. The economic pressure further leads to the oppressing need for job security and reasonable learning opportunities. The absence of this factor pushes youth into the abyss of depression. As a result, a negative attitude towards life is springing up among youth.
The destructive trends like drug addiction, alcoholism and smoking ash are strengthening its root among youth. This depression has not only affected from lower income group, but the middle class and the elite have also been affected. Unfortunately, there is no proper outlet for the youth vent out their depressive thoughts. So, they resort to illegal and destructive channels.
What Should One Do For Curing Depression?
The authorities and NGOs should create awareness among the people about the symptoms of depression and its solutions. Due to lack of awareness people don’t know what exactly depression is , even if they know they don’t accept it because they are afraid of being rejected by the society or they believe they will cope up on their own. People suffering from depression often feel isolated and alone, and the stigma around depression and lack of public education about the disease can make it more difficult for those suffering to seek the necessary help.
When people with depression go untreated, they often find other means of coping; this can lead to addictions or suicidal thoughts. Depression awareness among the general public as well as people affected will help to decrease the stigma around the disease, making help and treatment a more viable option. Currently, Mental health is the most neglected field in Pakistan; there are insufficient facilities as compared to the prevalence of diseases.
According to a report, Pakistan has one psychiatrist for every 10000 patients and one child psychiatrist for every four million children suffering from mental disorders. There are only four major psychiatric hospitals for the 120 million population of Pakistan. There is no concept of psychiatric health workers and support groups. However,there is a number of Non-governmental Organization (NGOs) working for mental health in Pakistan.
The government should raise the standard of infrastructure and manage the budget each year for the health sector.
There should be monitoring system for the material resource which is provided in the name of budget. There should be short term and long term goal for the budget allocation for the transparency of the material resource usage. The allocation of resources should be on a need basis, for example, there are a greater number of psychiatric issues because of disparities like a hike in the prices and terrorism. Above all government can involve health development partners like companies, institutions and organizations which are working in public health.
It is, therefore, essential that the authorities take this issue seriously and take substantial steps to lift up the spirit of youth, which constitutes 65 percent population of the country. Youth is the blood running through the vein of the nation and if is it not taken care of, the whole nation will suffer immensely.