LAHORE - President Dr Arif Alvi opened the 22nd international conference of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS) at a hotel Friday.

In his address, the president stressed the need for stepped up efforts to resolve psychiatric issues in the society. He also underscored the need for adopting advance system to cure mentally-stressed people. “We can reduce the rate of psychiatric patients by establishing a stress-free environment around us,” he said, raising his concerns over the surge in psychiatric patients. “Depression is the biggest disease,” he said while calling for taking solid steps to fix it.

“There is dire need of playing collective role for establishing a healthier society in the country.”

The president said women were facing psychiatric issues in the country. He urged group therapy of the families.

“In our society, people use to hide their psychiatric disorders, especially in the joint family system, which can be treated by going to a psychiatrist,” he added.

He praised the PPS efforts and said such conferences should be organised to raise awareness in the country.

Later, senior psychiatrist Saad Bashir Malik presented a shield to the president. Dr Arif Alvi also cut a ribbon to inaugurate an exhibition.

Organising Committee Chairman Prof Altaf Qadir, members Prof Saad Bashir Malik and Prof Nasir Saeed Khan and a number of foreign and local experts attended the event. During scientific and health sessions, delegates read out their papers and introduced latest techniques and methods to treat the mentally-unhealthy people.

Delegates reading out papers informed the audience that up to 20 per cent populace of the country is suffering from mental disorder. Just 500 psychiatrists were available and this number is insufficient to cater to the needs they added.

They also highlighted various factors leading to mental derangement and impact of the same on the patients and the society.

They also spotlighted the problems a mentally-ill faces in his family and the society and, they called for developing a mechanism whereof the mental patients are not made socially outcast nor their rights are suppressed. The speakers demanded the government for framing law to protect rights of the mental patients as well to ensure them proper treatment and counselling.

The experts said that the society should not only accept the mentally-ill people but also feel for them as this aspect is equally important along with their medication.

The speakers also cited examples which showed complete cure of the acute mentally-ill patients and said they were performing as constructive citizens in their respective country.

They demanded the government set up a psychiatry university in the country to produce more and more physicians and for advance research for the cure.

Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi visited a local hospital to inquire after the father of Ejaz Ch. He also prayed for his early recovery.