Mental Healthcare Crisis in Kashmir
A recent survey conducted by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF or Doctors Without Boundaries) found that 45 percent adults in the Kashmir Valley have “significant symptoms” of mental distress.
Srinagar: Every day, hundreds of people, visit the dilapidated Kathidarwaza hospital in Srinagar to seek treatment for stress and other psychological disorders. The numbers of patients suffering from mental health issues is on the rise in the conflict-ridden Kashmir Valley. This is one of the very few two mental healthcare facilities in the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, a state that has a huge deficiency in infrastructure and trained manpower to treat patients with psychiatric issues. Showkat Shah, who teaches psychology at the Kashmir University, said the crisis has been largely ignored despite being one of the greatest challenges Kashmiris face today. Yasir Hassan Rather, an associate professor at the Kathidarwaza hospital, said the state is suffering from “grossly understaffed and insufficient facilities” in mental health facilities. “We don’t have trained clinical psychologists and counsellors and no recreational facilities are available for patients in the Kathidarwaza hospital,” Rather said. Decades of violent conflict in the state, which has left tens of thousands of people dead, and many more maimed, have taken a horrific toll on the state’s residents. Surveys suggest that as a result of daily violence, a huge number of people suffer from mental health disorders.
A recent survey conducted by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF or Doctors Without Boundaries) found that 45 percent adults in the Kashmir Valley may have “significant symptoms” of mental distress, while 41 percent of the population is living with symptoms of depression. An estimated 26 percent population lives with the symptoms of anxiety-related disorders while 19 percent people are suffering from post-stress traumatic disorder, the survey found.