Thursday, 5th April 2018:
NOWPDP in collaboration with the Aga Khan University Hospital, hosted a talk on “Child Mental Health in Pakistan: Opportunities and Needs” with a special focus on Autism owing to April being the Autism Awareness Month. The talk highlighted the significance of mental health in shaping how children and young adults grow, learn and perceive situations.
The talk was led by Charlotta Holenstein, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who works as a behavioral consultant with children and young adults and Dr. Ayesha Mian, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at AKUH.
Dr. Mian stated, “There are 400 general psychiatrics for 200 million people in Pakistan. With children’s mental health, the situation is more alarming as there are four child psychiatrics, which means there is only one child psychologist per 25 million children in Pakistan.
Holenstein used her experience with working with children and young adults to highlight the struggles they face in behavioral, social and emotional areas. She spoke about Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and how it was different from mainstream teaching. She urged teachers to critically reflect upon their teaching methodologies. While referring to teachers she said, “If you’re unsure, always ask why you’re choosing a certain method or way to teach. Critical reflection is of utmost importance.”
NOWPDP intends to hold similar talks to create a space for dialogue on mental health, especially for children/young adults to foster understanding and acceptance so more pragmatic actions can take place.