"In the Pashtun areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the majority
of the population speak Pashto, with a few understanding the
English language. They have little information about mental health.
If they see any abnormal behaviour among family members or friends,
they blame goblins (Jin) and black magic. This is particular
true in the war affected tribal areas bordering these two
I strongly believe in the importance of public education in
mental health in order to open a window for Pashtuns in
Afghanistan and Pakistan and help reduce the stigma of mental
illness, and to find ways to seek appropriate help and manage
mental health problems.
I realise, from my personal experiences but also from my
research, that in Pashtun areas mental illness is taboo. People
prefer not to talk about and they have no information on mental
I am grateful to Dr Faridah Hoad Saifi's efforts in helping in
the translation of a small selection of topics from the Royal
College of Psychiatrists' mental health information. These
translation were verified by the 'Syndicate of Writers Pakistan'
which is a literary organisation affiliated to Horizon NGO. Dr
Faridha has a history of promoting health awareness through radio,
press and documentaries."
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