Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Limited access to Mental Health Centers affects women’s well-being in Afghanistan

Immigration News

Khaama Press
Khaama Presshttps://www.khaama.com
Khaama Press is a Kabul-based independent and non-political news organization established in 2010.
File/Khaama Press.

Written By: Tabasum Nasiry

Prohibiting women in Afghanistan from working and receiving an education is a significant issue that has profoundly impacted the mental well-being of Afghan women and girls. The absence of accessible mental health centres has exacerbated this problem, making it a significant societal challenge.

A female psychological counsellor in Kabul emphasizes that mental health is inseparable from society’s well-being. Counselling and treatment centres can play a crucial role in improving women’s mental health. According to her, these centres provide a safe and supportive environment where women can seek professional help, receive counselling or treatment, learn coping strategies, and access resources to address their mental health needs.

Zarkhsha Diana, a psychological counsellor, speaking to Khaama Press News Agency on the occasion of World Mental Health Day and its value among women, said, “In Afghanistan, women face significant mental health challenges due to social and cultural factors, gender-based violence, limited access to education and healthcare, and restrictions on their rights and freedoms.”

She also emphasized that long-term conflict and instability in the region can lead to psychological distress and harm among women.

According to Diana, gender-based violence, discrimination, limitations in decision-making and independence, lack of access to education, lack of job opportunities, social pressures, and maternal health issues are some of the other challenges that contribute to the vulnerability of women and girls’ mental health.

The World Federation for Mental Health and the World Health Organization have designated October 10th as “World Mental Health Day” to raise awareness about mental health issues.

Diana, emphasizing that a healthy mind enables individuals to cope with the natural stresses of life, added that strategies such as access to mental and social care services, increasing public awareness of mental health issues, empowering women through education and promoting gender equality can reduce mental health problems in society.

There is no specific data on the number of mental health patients in the country. However, recent reports indicate that approximately half of Afghanistan’s population is experiencing psychological pressures due to poverty and socio-economic difficulties.

Isra Nazari, a graduate in economics from Kabul University, told Khaama Press News Agency that after completing university and facing the prohibition of women working, she developed mental illnesses and psychological problems.

She could not access mental health centres due to their lack of societal stigmas. She said, “I tried several times to go to a health centre, but people told me this girl must be crazy to see a psychiatrist.”

According to Isra, their economic situation is not good, and being unable to support her family financially is painful for her. She adds, “I have become very introverted; nothing makes me happy. I do not want to be in society, and these feelings of hopelessness have made life difficult for me.”

The World Health Organization had previously reported the lack of access to mental and psychological counselling centres in Afghanistan, emphasizing that 1.6 million people are struggling with neurological problems.

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