To fight stigma, raise awareness and provide quality treatment for mental health issues, the British Asian Trust has been working with partners in-country since 2005. We are supported by like-minded organisations such as CareTech Foundation and COSARAF Charitable Foundation to help transform thousands of lives.
The topic of mental health has been close to my heart since a young age.
My parents got divorced when I was 12, and I think the reason for their divorce was my mother’s struggle with substance abuse over the years. None of us understood what she was going through, including me. For the longest time I really blamed my mother for our family being torn apart.
I would never have grasped the true nature of my mother’s disease if I hadn’t become a doctor. I was going through my psychiatry ward rotations when I finally understood that whatever happened with her was not of her choosing.
After the divorce, my mother started living with her brother’s family, who to date do not understand her condition. I think that the general population still does not grasp the concept of mental health. We don’t even consider that people- like my mother-can be addicted to over the counter drugs which are easily available. Unfortunately, healthcare facilities in Pakistan are still not at par with the rest of the world.
I think this is why mental health matters to me; because in the absence of mental well-being, people’s lives and homes can be destroyed. I was fortunate enough to have the support of my father, and things worked out well for me in the end. However, not everyone is afforded a good support system or even basic necessities, which is why it is imperative to use our privilege and platform to provide proper mental health services to those who need it.
Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga, Co-Founder and COO, Sehat Kahani