Mental health issues in Kashmir higher than global average: IIOJK doctors


The Kashmir Valley grapples with a higher prevalence of mental health issues compared to the global average, a situation attributed to various factors including the decades old conflict in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

This was stated by the Valley-based doctors in their media interviews. Besides, the conflict over Kashmir, the doctor said that economic challenges and climatic conditions contribute to the mental health issues in the territory.

Dr Mansoor Ahmad, Head of Psychiatry at Govt Medical College Islamabad emphasised the moral responsibility of the community in recognising the signs of mental distress, particularly suicidal thoughts, and extending positive support networks.

Dr Zoya Mir, a renowned clinical psychologist, shed light on the pressing mental health concerns among adolescents and young adults in the region. She said the existing psychological issues are leading to problems like academic decline, social isolation, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Dr Javaid Ahmad, a psychiatrist at District Hospital Shopian, highlighted the prevalence of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders, during the challenging times. He stressed the need for joint efforts to combat the stigma associated with mental disorders, enhance awareness, and encourage timely treatment-seeking behaviour.

Besides calling for a compassionate approach towards the mental health patients, the doctors underscored the importance of creating supportive living conditions and environments that facilitate healthy lifestyles.

It is worth mentioning that in the wake of Indian state terrorism in IIOJK, the number of mental patients has crossed the one hundred thousand mark. This was revealed in a report issued by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service on the occasion of World Mental Health Day on Tuesday. The report said the number of mental patients has witnessed an alarming increase since the imposition of strict military siege in IIOJK by Modi-led communal Indian government on August 05, 2019. It maintained that the human rights violations by Indian troops including beatings, torture, unjustified arrest and extrajudicial killings had adversely affected the local psyche.

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