A lack of support services, stigma, and unsupportive community structures in Pakistan means individuals suffering from mental health conditions experience a very real reluctance to seek help.
In this context, diagnosis and treatment of mental health deterioration is severely challenging.
Space constraints in healthcare facilities impede on the provision of mental health services. Patients and attendants at facilities are reluctant to discuss private matters and openly share distress in insecure, non-confidential environments.
With non-conducive environments – such as OPD and waiting areas – for the identification and provision of counseling to individuals, Pursukoon Zindagi (PZ) – IRD’s mental health team, has to restructure how to treat patients showing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and provide preventative counseling.
In collaboration with various partners, IRD Pakistan has established a series of Wellness Centers to combat space constraints and improve access to mental health services.
Launching the first Wellness Center in February 2020 at the Indus Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, PZ aims to provide a therapeutic space for quality one-on-one counseling, wellness workshops, with patient support groups and group counseling.
Designed in the form of portable containers, Pursukoon Zindagi Wellness Centers can be placed in communities and within facilities that have limited space for counseling.
The mental health team aimed to provide a safe, private, confidential, and soothing environment for individuals to discuss personal matters, specifically designed to provide holistic mental health services.
The Pursukoon Zindagi Wellness Centers have been placed in 3 sites, including 2 in Karachi and 1 at Badin, with an additional Wellness Center in the pipeline.
Since its inception, over 3,000 clients have been seen at the wellness centers.
The wellness centers have allowed the PZ team to cater to hard to reach communities without access to mental health services.
Through this, the team has also seen the impact of the safe environment on people’s willingness to talk about their struggles with anxiety and depression and seek help.