Mental health professionals in Pakistan have demanded to establish a regulatory authority to oversee the qualifications, training and curriculum of mental health services in the country.
On Thursday, the Board of Counselling and Psychotherapy, a community of psychotherapists and mental health counselors in Pakistan, presented their Charter of Demands to monitor mental health services in Pakistan as the country lacks such services.
The Board stated in a press release, “We recognize the damage that can result from unregulated mental health practices.”
“We propose the need to categorize mental health service providers based on qualifications … along with the creation of a regulatory authority for practitioners.”
The Charter of Demands calls for a licensing system that requires therapists to meet a criteria before being eligible to practice in the country.
Charter of demands
- We demand the regulation of mental health services and practitioners through the establishment of approval academic, training, and supervision criteria.
- We demand a licensing system that requires mental health professionals to meet said criteria and pass qualifying exams to be eligible to practice.
- We demand the establishment of a governing body to regulate ethics and accountability for mental health practitioners.
- We call for recognition of psychiatrists, psychologists, and physiotherapists/mental health counselors as district categories of training and practice within mental health professions.
“It is high time we take action to end unethical and unregulated practices in mental health services,” the Board added.
The murder of Noor Mukadam has renewed a debate in the country about the need to regulate and keep a check on untrained and unethical mental health professionals, as it has come to light that Zahir Jaffer, Noor’s alleged killer, had been practicing as a therapist.
In order for mental healthcare services to be rights-based, proper services must be freely accessible and must offer care based on regulated, scientific protocols.