Dr. Aisha Sanober Chachar spoke to Uzair Younus about the state of mental health in Pakistan and the adverse effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on it. Dr. Aisha identified the difference between mental health and mental illness, and also spoke about the exacerbating digital divide between the rural and urban population in Pakistan, which has become more prominent with the onset of this pandemic.
The state of mental health among both men and women was explored during this interview. The increased stigma around men seeking mental health care and the myriad reasons for this were discussed. Alternatively, the societal pressures and expectations on women, along with the increased domestic violence rates during the pandemic, and how these lead to the deterioration of their mental health was also explained.
During this interview, Dr. Aisha also shed light on the nature vs nurture debate in relation to child mental health, as well as the adverse effects of the pandemic on their emotional and social learning. The effect of the increased exposure to death and grief on children and consequently, the use of social media as a source of information was also examined. Dr. Aisha provided tips on how to speak to children about death in a culturally and developmentally appropriate manner.