On World Health Day, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made an important announcement about the launch of Pakistan’s first-ever dedicated mental health app and helpline. The premier declared the new initiative, called #Humraaz, stating that the well-being of citizens is paramount for society’s improvement, especially when it comes to mental health.
The newly launched app and helpline can be accessed by dialling 1166, where citizens can seek assistance in case of a mental health emergency, suicidal thoughts, or even to make an appointment with a mental health professional. The app allows users to share their mental health issues confidentially with the goal of improving the health and quality of life of people suffering from deteriorating mental health.
Salman Sufi, head of the prime minister’s strategic reforms, had previously announced that the initiative aimed to provide consultation services to assist individuals dealing with mental health issues, including government servants who felt overwhelmed with the pressures they faced. He explained that there were not enough psychiatrists and psychologists available to help those in need and that the government aimed to add more in later stages.
The prime minister’s strategic reforms unit is collectively developing the app in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, under the directives of the prime minister. The goal is to introduce a proper licensing and certification system for psychologists and psychiatrists. This app is seen as an important step towards recognising mental health as a significant public health concern, with the government supporting citizens suffering from various mental health problems.
Sufi emphasised the importance of normalising conversations about mental health and eliminating the stigmatisation that surrounds it. By launching the app, the government hopes to provide a platform for citizens to access mental health services confidentially and anonymously. This way, people can share their struggles and access the help they need to improve their mental health without fear of judgement or discrimination.
In conclusion, Pakistan’s new mental health app and helpline are expected to make a significant impact on the country’s healthcare system. By raising awareness and providing accessible mental health services, the initiative could help people overcome the stigmatisation around mental health and make a positive change towards better mental health outcomes.