KARACHI - Mental illnesses are increasing worldwide and $2.5 trillion are being spent on their treatment per year.

Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) will conduct surveys nationwide about diseases in order to determine the rate of mental illnesses in Pakistan.

The design has also been developed which will be launched in Sindh. The Bureau of Statistics will also be provided help in the national survey.

This was the gist of speeches delivered at a seminar held here on Thursday on World Mental Health in Arag Auditorium.

The seminar was organised by the psychiatry department of Dow University of Health Sciences.

The speakers included Professor Dr Syed Haroon Ahmed, Professor of Sciences, Professor Dr Sadia Qureshi, Chairman Psychiatry Professor Dr Razaur Rehman Dr Naeem Siddiqui, Dr Haider Iqbal and others.

Dr Akhtar Farid Siddiqui also sang a song on the occasion, which had been composed to relax mentally disturbed people.

Earlier, the participants walked from the MS Office Civil Hospital to the Aag Auditorium of Dow University of Health Sciences.

Dr Sadia Qureshi stressed that the concept of physical first aid should be considered as mental first aid, because people with mental disorders may also suffer from major harm due to no emergency relief.

She said that awareness about mental illnesses in the country was very low. “Suspicions, fears, hold people back from seeking treatment of these diseases,” she noted, and added, “Such patients need attention, that’s why we should be closer to them and listen to them.”

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Naeem Siddiqui said, “Mental pressure at workplaces affects mental capabilities.

He said that minor things also caused mental stress and continuous mental stress converted into serious and chronic disorder.

He said that being very active on social media can also have mental illnesses. “Because of this functionality, we are not close to close relationships and people sitting around thousands of miles away, those who neither suffer nor suffer with us, do not complain to us like elders,” he observed.

He further said that a pilot was ready for a national survey related to mental illnesses and soon the regular work would start.