A large number of Afghans suffer from mental illness
Insecurity, unemployment and uncertainty are a major cause behind increasing anxiety and depression in the country.
conducted recently show that mental health problem is widespread in Afghanistan.
Officials at the Afghan Ministry of
Public Health announced that as many as 47 percent of the country’s population
are suffering from mental health problems. According to figures published by
the government, 4.7 percent of the population suffers from depression, 2.7
percent of Afghans suffer from anxiety, 5.8 percent of the people suffer from
trauma, and one percent of the population is diagnosed to have been suffering
Afghanistan’s brutal violence—widespread conflict, suicide bombing, and airstrikes—are the main cause behind increasing mental health problem in the country. The latest World Happiness Survey commissioned by the United Nations places the country as the third most unhappy in the world. The survey shows that after South Sudan and the Central African Republic, Afghanistan is the third unhappy nation.
In 2018, the Australian Institute of Economics and Peace
Think Tank, conducting a survey, ranked Afghanistan as the second insecure nation,
ranking Syria at the top.
a resident of Kabul, explains that many of his friends and relatives suffer from
mental health problems. He believes that in Afghanistan only a few number of patients
who suffer from mental health problems visit psychiatrist whereas a large number
of them refuse to visit psychiatrists for they think visiting psychiatrist damages
their social reputation.
about mental health problems is low among people,” said Ali Arman. “Many people
see mental health problem as shame and refuse to acknowledge.” Ali urges the
government to set up more equipped
public mental health centers.
a physiologist in Kabul, claims that the Ministry of Public Heath deliberately
ignores public health workers who work in psychotherapy field. The ministry
should have held training programs for fresh university graduates who have
studied psychology. The ministry needs to support psychologists who can help
the country overcome mental health problems. He added that tens of graduates
who hold degree in psychology are jobless.
Meanwhile, Bashir Ahmad Sarwari, the head of mental health section at the Ministry of Public Health, acknowledged that mental illness is widespread in the country.
“Psychotherapy is a complicated process. The health care system of the country is incapable to train therapists, and we do not have specialized psychotherapy course,”
Mr. Sarwari said.
Mohammad Amin, a senior student of a private university, heard a radio announcement
about a therapy center, he became hopeful to get help and overcome depression. “I
visited a therapist and paid the fee but I really did not get better. Some
therapists advised me to visit a doctor, but I cannot afford,” Amin noted.