The mental health of China and Pakistan, mental health laws and COVID-19 mental health policies: a comparative review

Mental health is one of the major causes of disability worldwide, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are ranked among the top 25 leading causes of disease burden in the world. This burden is considerable over the lifetime of both men and women and in various settings and ages. This study aims to compare the mental health status of people in China and Pakistan and to highlight the mental health laws and policies during COVID-19 and afterwards. According to the literature on mental health, before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health problems increased gradually, but during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, an abrupt surge occurred in mental health problems. To overcome mental health disorders, most (but not all) countries have mental health laws, but some countries ignore mental health disorders. China is one such country that has mental health laws and policies and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, China made beneficial and robust policies and laws, thereby succeeding in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic. The mortality rate and financial loss were also lower than in other countries. While Pakistan has mental health laws and general health policies, the law is only limited to paperwork and books. When it came to COVID-19, Pakistan did not make any specific laws to overcome the virus. Mental health problems are greater in Pakistan than in China, and China’s mental health laws and policies are more robust and more widely implemented than those in Pakistan. We conclude that there are fewer mental health issues in China than in Pakistan both before and since the COVID-19 pandemic. China has strong mental health laws and these are robustly implemented, while the mental health law in Pakistan is not applied in practice.

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