Islamabad, Oct 9 In Pakistan around 50 million people are suffering from common mental disorders. These afflict 15 to 35 million adults besides 20 million children, according to local media.
"Approximately 20 million children, or 10 per cent of the population, in our country need attention from mental health practitioners," said Dr Ayesha Mian, Chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry at the Aga Khan University (AKU), during a dialogue held on Saturday.
The session on mental health was organised in connection with World Mental Health Day being observed on October 10, the Dawn reported.
Mian said there was a perception that people with mental illness were violent, looked different from others, and could never get better or could not be productive members of society.
"Such misleading stereotypes impact adversely on these people's struggle to cope with their condition," she said.
"Studies show that people with mental illness are much more likely to be a victim than a perpetrator. Media should come forward and be strong partners against this social bias," she said, adding that family members, friends and the society in general have a vital role to play in helping people recover from mental illness.
"They need positive attitude and acceptance of their conditions," she added.