Mental Health and Development (MHD)

The Problem

There are more than 20 million people in Pakistan who are suffering from various mental illnesses. This makes it 10% of the country’s population. In Pakistan, there are four/five specialised mental health care hospitals in Karachi/Hyderabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Mansehra with a total capacity of 3,000 beds, while small psychiatric units are also attached to teaching hospitals and private psychiatric hospitals which have a capacity of about 4,000 beds for patients reporting with mental disorders. Pakistan has one psychiatrist for every 100,000 patients and one child psychiatrist for every four million children suffering from mental disorders. For widespread ignorance and lack of awareness, traditionally, people resort to faith healers and spiritual leaders in order to treat the patients of mental illness as it is considered to be an effect of ‘demonic possession’ rather than a medical condition.

As per Kakuma et al., 2011, human resources for mental health are inadequate in most countries of low and middle income and are likely to worsen unless substantial investments are made and effective strategies are implemented. Mental health care can be delivered effectively in primary care settings, through community-based programmes and task shifting approaches that engages and supports skilled non-specialist health professionals, lay workers, affected individuals, and caregivers in mental health service delivery. Mental health specialists should, and must, continue to have essential roles in delivery of services, training, supervision, and mentoring of non-specialist workers. The specific composition of the mental health workforce should be expected to vary across countries, according to differing population needs, mental health service delivery systems, and resources. Effective leadership and management of human resources for mental health will be essential to address key challenges such as mobilization of financial resources, recruitment, retention, and equitable distribution of the workforce.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Statistics Fact Sheet

  • Globally, more than 450 million people suffer from mental disorders and many more have mental problems.
  • Depressive diseases are projected to be the leading global burden of disease by 2030.
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders and non-communicable diseases make up 13% of the global burden of disease.
  • Globally, more than 350 million people have depression, a mental disorder that prevents people from functioning well.
  • It is estimated that by 2020 – 20% of the world’s population will be experiencing depression – a treatable condition.
  • Around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems, with similar types of disorders being reported across cultures. Most low and middle-income countries have only one child per psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.
  • Low-income countries have 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.42 nurses per 100,000 people. The rate of psychiatrists in high income countries is 170 times greater and for nurses is 70 times greater.
  • Around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and nearly 80% of the people with epilepsy are found in developing regions.
  • Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders are common in all regions of the world, affecting every community and age group cross all income countries. While 14% of the global burden of disease is attributed to these disorders, most of the people affected - 75% in many low-income countries - do not have access to the treatment they need.

  • Our Approach

    FRDP has built a unique yet an effective model for the recovery of People With Mental Illness and Epilepsy (PWMIEs) and sustained good mental health. The model uses meaningful work and community support as well as treatment to help improve lives by working in partnership with mentally ill people rather than simply for them. Our approach to treatment includes providing medication and psycho-social support in partnership with local governments, specifically health ministries and departments. It is low cost and sustainable because we build the capacity of existing health professionals and services rather than starting from scratch. We also build the capacity of participants by encouraging them to be members of self-help groups to support their on-going recovery and to reduce stigma by helping the broader community understand what mental illness is. The combination of hands-on practical work with rigorous research and data collection supports PWMIEs to make their voice heard at a local level. It allows us to collaborate with a range of partners to advocate, create change at a national level and ultimately increase the prominence of mental illness and epilepsy on the global stage.


    Our Work

    Community base Mental Health Initiative Matiary
    FRDP initiated a community base mental health clinic services for people with mental illness and epilepsy for district Matiary with support of local Health Department Government of Sindh. Clinics are established in Taluka Hospital of Hala and Matiary where staff including Psychiatrist, Psychologist, social mobilizers are available for MHD services. Alongside outreach program that includes Self Help Groups, Vocational skill training and rehabilitation centers, mobile clinics etc are also part of program