Ghizer Youth Maraka demands mental health emergency, launches a movement

GAHKUCH: The youth of Ghizer demanded declaration of mental health emergency in the district in a declaration pronounced in a Grand Youth Maraka (gathering) here on Sunday. The event was organized by Immune Commune Research and Development (ICRD) to discuss the issues of suicides in Ghizer. It was attended by stakeholders from government, civil society organisations, educational and religious institutions, and more than 700 youth from all regions of Ghizer district.

Speaking on the occasion the youth demanded to take initiative to address the rising trend of suicide and alarming rate of mental related issues in the Ghizer. For that purpose, they proposed introduction of lay counselling model to reach at the doorstep of local communities who are left in a lurch in the absence of mental health related infrastructure. Deputy Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly (GBA), Nazir Ahmed Advocate, urged the youth to tackle the challenges in life with aplomb and composure. He assured his total support for such an initiative.

Other speakers included Nawaz Khan Naji, member GBA, Yasir Abbas, Advisor to Chief Minister GB, Ghanzanfar Ali, Assistant Commissioner Punial-Ishkoman and official of education department, health and civil society. The stakeholders unanimously agreed to address the issues at all spheres of society ranging from family to school.

In the end of gathering, the youth passed a resolution demanding establishment of hotline to address the emergencies across tehsil with sensitized staff deputed to counsel and referral. To tackle the mental health issues, the participant deemed role of teachers a vital. Therefore, it is suggested to capacitate teachers at schools and colleges in psycho-social counselling skills. They would work as primary point of interaction and referrals for further treatment of serious cases.

The youth of Ghizer demanded legislation regarding sexual and child abuse, early marriage, drug abuse and domestic violence. Concluding the session and sharing the future plan, the event coordinator Inayat Baig said that such events would be convened at every tehsil of Ghizer district to bring more youth within the ambit of mental health movement started by the youth.

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