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Women's course in Farah City, Afghanistan. Photo credit U.S. Navy/Josh Ives
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By Asma Ghani 

Women in Pakistan suffer a greater burden from mental health than their male counterparts, losing over twice as many disability-adjusted life years (DALY) to depression than men, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, "The Burden of Mental Disorders in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 1990-2013”. The Eastern Mediterranean Region – which consists of nations in the Middle East and North Africa including Pakistan and Afghanistan – were witnessing an increase in chronic disorders, including mental illness.

Regarding Pakistan it says, mental disorders account for more than four per cent of the total disease burden. However, women suffer a higher mental health burden.

“Women in Pakistan lost nearly 1.2 million total DALYs to depression, compared to men’s more than 495,000 DALYs in 2013. Anxiety exhibits a similar gender divide with women in the country losing over 376,700 total DALYs to anxiety while men lost approximately 212,000 DALYs”.

Dr. Anwar Rafay, an epidemiologist and co-author of this study suggested that the situation was alarming.

“Mental health disorders are taking an alarming toll on people in Pakistan and throughout the Eastern Mediterranean region. Women – often in the prime of their lives – are losing years of good health to depression, anxiety, and other disorders,” he said.

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