Bunyad Foundation is helping those who’re the most neglected
To promote a better understanding of mental health; a centre of information, education, and awareness is the need of the hour, to develop a sense of well-being in people. If you just look around, psychological problems in Pakistan are widespread. According to an estimate, more than 50 million people suffer from mental health issues ranging from psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, alcohol misuse, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Pakistan.
Bunyad Foundation, since its inception 25 years ago, has been transforming lives of underprivileged communities in different villages of Punjab, especially students, to empower them socially, intellectually, and financially and to make them better-skilled citizen by teaching them how to survive in a competitive world. Bunyad joined hands with Mind Organization; a UK based mental health charity in 2009, to better facilitate underprivileged communities with psychiatric disorders.
Schizophrenia is one of the most common disorders that affect the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It has several symptoms that include hallucinations, delusions, and a reduced interest in daily life and reduced speech; normally found between the ages of 16-30. With inadequate psychiatric care available, Bunyad Foundation jointly started conducting mind camps in Hafizabad district, where psychological aid, such as consultation, diagnosis, and free of cost medication are being provided, twice a month.
Although it is totally normal for individuals to seek help of a medical health professional in case of injury or disease, such is not the case for mental health disorders, as there is a sort of a social stigma surrounding mental health issues. So, to counter and de-stigmatize this, Bunyad Foundation has been facilitating bi-monthly visits of highly trained mental health professionals and doctors, who attend patients even in harsh weather. However, unfortunately, fewer numbers of health professionals and doctors are available in comparison to the number of patients. During one of the recent visits, there were only three doctors to attend around 400 patients.
Mind Camp Lead and philanthropist, Nishay Shafi said, “There is no mental health awareness in rural areas. Mental health ailments are shrugged off and attributed to supernatural conditions due to lack of literacy. We have worked long and hard over the years to change mindsets and spread as much awareness as we can. Women are also disproportionately affected, many of our female patients suffer from mental health diseases while providing for families of 5-7, and the stress aggravates their mental health further. ”
Besides other factors, discussing mental health is a taboo in Pakistan, especially in the remote areas; whether it is any mental disorder or severe disorder, take the example of schizophrenia, while it should be treated with the proper process of psycho-therapies and medication, the ‘blood drain’ technique; draining the blood out of patient’s skull, is used to cure schizophrenia, which is dangerous and against the laws of medical science.
According to research conducted in Pakistan (2019), majority of the country’s population lives in rural areas, lacking knowledge and awareness due to low level of literacy. People seek treatment from faith-based healers Instead of seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist as most of the times patients are beaten by quacks with the notion that they are inflicting pain to an evil spirit and not to the patient (p. 116).
Bunyad Foundation has been helping people get proper treatment, and to avoid such malpractices, it is also organizing awareness programs in the rural areas while offering proper health-care services to people with schizophrenia and other mental health issues, so it is imperative that we help such organizations with our valuable donations, so that all those with mental issues can be made productive citizens of Pakistan.
If you wish to donate to Bunyad Foundation, you can do it here.
Cover image via: Bunyad Foundation