Concern for Mental Health: Planned Parenthood Premises, Lahore.

Lubna Afzal

After a thirty year career in Communications and Management with multinational organisations like The Coca Cola Company and Avari Hotels, she now manages all PSPP projects, prominent among them being mental health, family and reproductive health, vocational training, adult literacy & other outreach programs.

Concern for Mental Health (CFMH) is one of the most successful and beneficial community programs .It offers both diagnostic as well as rehabilitative programs to the clients. Access to Psychiatrists and Psychologists is difficult for under privileged people for a number of reasons:

  • Consultants at Government hospitals are overworked, they cannot give enough time for patient assessment and treatment.

  • Consultants working privately are expensive and beyond their reach.

    Lahore.png

  • The stigma attached to mental disease discourages them to be open about their visits to a public doctor / consultant. This attitude is rampant in our educated as well as uneducated populations.

We are a paternalistic  and closed society, physical and mental abuse is common, people

suffering can't talk openly, quacks (pirs and others) who treat such patients on religious grounds make things worse. Treatment for mental diseases is time consuming and expensive, it is not easily available.

PSPP has been present in this urban-slum area since 1981, it has developed a cordial relationship with the thousand or so households of Jeevanhana, which made it easier to collaborate with CFMH. A perfect infrastructure was already in place to introduce mental health help: OPD clinic, a medical doctor, field workers, vocational training and adult literacy program-working hand in hand with the trained Psychologists provided by CFMH.

Concern for Mental Health with Pakistan Society for Planned Parenthood joined resources in 2009, offering a three pronged program where we create awareness, remove stigma, diagnose through psychological and psychiatric evaluation by professionals and clinically qualified consultants and provide treatment free of cost to all our clients.

Both organizations work well together for the public cause. Net- working with other NGOs has provided the necessary physical treatment and psychiatric support. This is done with complete privacy and free of cost, the strength and success of the program lies in there.

We deal with depression, anger management, anxiety, insomnia, speech problems, and learning disabilities at CFMH-PSPP. In addition, obsessive compulsive disorder, epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism are also addressed. The work is done in the community setting.