Mental Health Policy in Pakistan: A Discourse Analysis
Author: Farhana Wagha

Mental illness is as bad as physical illness, or even worse. According to different estimates world over, approximately one in four people is suffering from mental illness. However, the focus and research on mental health has a short history and still lacks research based findings on many dimensions. The broad aim of this study was to assess the parliamentary discourse around mental health policy and explore and understand the existing policy and legislative paraphernalia of mental health systems in Pakistan. This study has attempted to uncover the past and present discourse, the rationale behind it and its contributions in shaping up relevant policy options and their outcomes. With the main methodology of discourse analysis in the parliamentary/ policy arena, a mix method approach was used. Critical Discourse analysis of the documented information like the Lunacy Act of 2012, the mental health ordinance, 2001, parliamentary debates and the National Health vision of Pakistan 2016-2025 was conducted. Semi structured interviews of a representative sample from amongst the MNA’s, Senators and senior bureaucrats were conducted. The major criteria of sample selection included the provincial, gender, political parties and experience level representations. Transcription, translation and selection of texts reflecting major issues in social/ policy discourse around mental health, was carried. It was found that the rate of recognition of the mental health problem, direct and indirect, is high despite the fact that some members have openly considered it the weakness of the sufferer / patient. More than 50% members recognized the absence of healthy social alternatives to the stressful and conflicting social order, as a key factor behind spread of mental health problems. Supervisor:- Dr. Durr-e-Nayab

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Keywords : Discourse Analysis, Health Policy in Pakistan, MENTAL HEALTH
Supervisor: Durr-e-Nayab

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