Importance of ethical principles for mental health professional: A Stakeholder’s Session.

Sehat Kahani along with British Asian Trust, Savaira and Taskeen hosted A Stakeholder’s Sesson on behalf of Pakistan Mental health Coalition’s Quality Standard sub-committee. The Event was organized to unite key stakeholders involved in mental health initiatives and emphasize the importance of establishing an ethical framework that promotes effective mental health practices within the Pakistani context.

The session was honored by the presence of few major stakeholders including Dr. Karim Khawaja – Chairman of the Sindh Mental Health Authority, Dr. Naim Siddiqi from SIUT, Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga – COO and Cofounder Sehat Kahani, Kamyla Marvi – Director Pakistan-British Asian Trust, Sanaa – Program Manager Mental Health British Asian Trust, Dr. Rubeena – Director-Training and Quality Assurance, Savaira Taha Sabri – COO and Cofounder Taskeen, and Mr. Iqbal Ahmed – Chairman of Sindh Human Rights Commissions.

The event began with an introduction given by Alina Lakhani, Wellbeing portfolio Associate Sehat Kahani. After that, an overview of the PMHC and its Quality Standards Subcommittee was given by Dr. Rubeena and Sanaa Ahmed, where it was discussed that Mental Health Authorities have been established in Sindh, Punjab, KPK and Balochistan. However, they are still not in a position to regulate metal health services as rules and regulations have yet to be formed. It was also discussed that the Allied Health Professionals Act was passed in March 2022, was supposed to regulate the professions of Psychology and Counseling, is yet to be enforced.

Participants emphasized the urgent need to make these laws implementable. The program included workshops on key topics such as Dignity, Integrity, and Competent care in the areas of Mental Health treatment which was conducted by , Dr. Taha Sabri, Dr. Rubeena, and Sanaa Ahmed. The Program ended with a closing note by Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga who emphasized the importance of ethical concerns being essential to the overall health and wellbeing.

Dr. Naim Siddiqi (SIUT) on this topic added, “Ethical principles are not simply black and white; they often encompass gray areas which we as mental health experts have to navigate ensuring the patient’s best interest at hand.” Emphasizing on the the crucial role of the commission in expediting access to mental health services and ensuring that every individual receives appropriate care, Mr. Iqbal, Chairman Sindh Human Rights Commission, pledged to upport the PMHC in all its endeavors and added, Human right commission act as the bridge connecting the governing bodies and the one being governed.”

Furthermore, Dr. Karim Khawaja, Chairman of the Sindh Mental Health Authority, appreciated the event in his own words as; “Ethical practices in Mental Health are essential for the growth and progress of any Nation and I am grateful to the entire PMH Coalition to bring both private and institutional stakeholders at one platform for the betterment of mental health”

During the event, the key stakeholders concluded that there is a pressing need to enhance the skills and knowledge of mental health professionals along with the implementation of regular renewal of training programs for mental health experts. Similarly, mental health awareness has to be raised in masses by the active utilization of beneficiaries, and counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Moreover, Pakistan necessitates government support and funding is required for the advancement of mental health initiatives.

About Sehat Kahani: Sehat Kahani is a widely used Digital healthcare platform in Pakistan with the vision to democratize healthcare access for all using technology and a committed network of doctors with the commitment to enable flexible work opportunities for female doctors otherwise facing socio-cultural barriers to practice. Sehat Kahani’s platform is available as a Mobile Application for mass consumers and corporations and as e-clinics in low-income communities.

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