KARACHI - Sindh Mental Health Authority (SMHA) on Saturday organised mental health awareness programme to sensitise general public and other stakeholders of the society. SMHA Chairman Kareem Ahmed Khawaja said the authority was made to devise a strategy for people who are suffering from psychological or behavioral disorders. He said an estimated 15 to 20 percent of population was living with psychological disorders in Pakistan as well as in Sindh.

He said the Sindh Mental Health Authority bill was passed by the Sindh Assembly in 2013 and later amendment was done in authority in 2015. He said the government had notified SMHA in October 2017 to make policy for welfare of people suffering from mental disorders.

He said prevalence of depression is more common in the country in comparison with other mental disorders. He informed that the event was organised to highlight the role of stakeholders including lawyers, journalists and others who gave feedback and took part in formation of this law. Clinical psychiatrist Rubeena Kidwai said that public awareness, strategy and planning, patient rights, confidentiality and punishments for attendants will be ensured through this law.

She said that special courts would be established for rights of people suffering from mental disorders. Psychiatrists and people from all walks of life attended the event.