There is a quote that says, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” We all talk about physical health; we see the advertisements on television about diabetes, obesity, Aids, and what not. But do we ever see an advertisement regarding depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue? Our mental health is as important as our physical health. We hear people say; “I couldn’t get out of bed because I had flu.” What if a person said that he/she couldn’t get out of bed because they were feeling blue? Would it be the same? Living in a developing country like Pakistan, topics such as sexual violence, drug addiction, abuse of any form, homosexuality and anything sex-related or mental health issues is considered a taboo. People would rather have discussions on religion or politics instead of mental health. There is an alarming rise in suicides in Pakistan, in not only teenagers but also adults. There were 800 cases recorded last year, according to the statistics by Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad. The major reasons behind these suicides are the increasing family and society pressures, leading to mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression, which go undetected. A report by WHO (World Health Organization) states that depression affects 44 percent of the entire population in Pakistan. Its prevalence is higher in women at 57.5 percent and 25 percent in men. According to ‘Depression and Other Common Mental Health Disorders Global Health Estimates by WHO, Pakistan ranks No7 on depressive disorders cases.Depression is not the only mental health issue that is clouding the Pakistani society. Anger issues are also a mental health problem. According to psychiatrists, anger and aggressive or violent behaviours are part of mental disorders. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder are other mental health disorders which exist in our society. The ‘Intermittent Explosive Disorder’ is an impulse control disorder characterised by repeated “failure to resist aggressive impulses that result in serious assaultive acts or destruction of property.” To get more trained psychologists the government needs to bring their focus towards mental health, and encourage more young adults to persue psychologyThe impact of these anger issues can mainly be seen in the behavioural conduct of today’s youth. Street shootouts, murderous threats and physical violence have now become a part of their everyday lives. A fight over a petty issue can lead to a bloodbath. There are various examples of such acts in our society. The famous Shahzeb Khan murder case, which happened in 2012, is one such example.Back in 2016, in a conference held in Karachi Press Club, ‘Dr Ayesha Mian’, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Aga Khan University (AKU) said;“around 50 million people suffer from common mental health issues for whom there are only 400 trained psychiatrist, which means there is only one psychiatrist available per half-million people. Mental health disorders afflict 15 to 35 million adults, which is approximately 10-20 percent of the population and about 20 million children, which is approximately 10 percent of the population.” The government needs to bring their attention to this issue as there has been no change in the situation since 2016 and it is becoming difficult to control with each passing day. What can be a possible solution for this? Awareness. People need to be aware that mental health issues are a problem. They cannot be fixed by being ignored or made fun of. If we can have nationwide campaigns for Polio and family planning, then why can we not have one for mental health awareness. There should be television campaigns educating our nation regarding these issues so that they can be treated seriously. This way the families would be aware of the symptoms they should look out for, and will be able to detect a change in the behaviour of a person. For example, people dealing with depression keep themselves isolated, they have a loss of appetite and are usually disassociated from their surroundings. Once people around them know, they can easily help the person. For anger management in children, the family should involve the kids in extracurricular activities so they have a place to take out the anger they build up inside, and if it’s an adult then they should join an anger management training facility. The government needs to take steps towards solving these issues. They need to bring their focus towards mental health and promote the young adults to join the field of psychology, in order to get more trained psychologists to help.The writer is CEO at an insurance and risk management consultancy Published in Daily Times, April 18th 2018.