The Lahore Mental Health Association would be holding a mental health week from July 11 to July 16 in collaboration with the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), Department of Psychiatry (Fatima Jinnah Medical College) and the Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS) to celebrate 35 years of the Fountain House, told Prof. Dr. Haroon Rashid Chaudhary at a Press conference held at a local hotel on Thursday.
Head Psychiatry Department of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and honorary Executive Director of the Fountain House Dr. Haroon talked at length about the reasons and mental ailments afflicting the society. "According to a WHO report, by 2020 depression would be the second common disease afflicting the people for which we need to make efforts earnestly. Presently, it is the fifth common disease," said Dr. Haroon.
"The nuclear family system is getting popular throughout the world while it is moving towards elimination in Pakistan. This has definitely caused huge problems for people because the family acts as a cushion against various mental problems. Social and economic inequality, bad western influences, lack of recreational facilities and unemployment are the major reasons for mental ailments," he said. "For 140 million people, we just have 350 psychiatrists out of which 68 are in Lahore while Karachi has 50, who cannot cater the growing number of psychic patients," he said.
He also mentioned the contribution of the Fountain House during the last 35 years (1970-2005). "Since its inception by the late Prof. Rashid Chaudhary, the Fountain House has treated thousands of patients. Its annual budget is Rs 20 million out of which donors give Rs 15 million, while the rest is arranged from other sources. We have 140 members, who do not have kith and kin and are being looked after by the donors. Four organisations, concerned with the mental health, are working with us. A farm house at Farooqabad is treating patients with music therapy and agro therapy," he said. He also told the mediamen that the Board of Revenue has exempted all the donation from tax.
On the first day of the Mental Health Week, the Governor Punjab Lt.-Gen. Khalid Maqbool will be the Chief Guest while on the concluding day, the Chief Minister Punjab Ch. Pervaiz Elahi will be the chief guest. Prominent personalities from all walks of life will be the special guests on all the days of the week, which is being held at the Fountain House.