Not every mental health issue can rise up to the level of a diagnosable mental illness, however, some things can make you blue for a long time. You might have heard of ‘winter blues’ a lot but today we are talking about the ‘summer blues’ and how summer heat may affect your mental health. Here are 5 serious mental health issues that can arise from summer heat wave.
1. A heat wave can increase depression
In case you already are having a breakdown, high temperature can increase the depression symptoms in you. According to an Australian medical study, there’s a link between the environment’s temperature and hospital admissions for behavioral disorders.
Children and old people around in their 60’s are most vulnerable to the impact heat can have on mental health. In fact, children are likely to have the symptoms related to trauma even after the severe heat is over.
2. SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder
It’s true, there is a term for this condition/disorder when you feel whenever a seasonal change occurs. It’s called SAD. Just like people living in Northern countries may feel depressed, annoyed and sad all the time due to freezing cold weather, we, the residents of hot regions also go through the same mode.
3. Suicidal tendencies and mental off balance
Dr. Len Cortese from Canada believes, suicidal tendencies are increased in hot summers along with depression. He also thinks that chemicals in brains go off balance resulting in anxiety.
“Essentially, what’s occurring is that the neurotransmitters, the chemicals in the brain, are probably going off balance. When chemicals in the brain go off balance, it will cause difficulties in what the brain does. And what the brain does is, it helps us with our mood, so our mood is set off. The brain helps us keep our anxiety under control so [during heat] people have difficulties with anxiety.”
4. Dizziness, headaches, and fainting
You must have experienced this yourself from June to September. A lot of people complain of headaches, dizziness, and fainting during these months in Pakistan especially students and labors. It’s called heat exhaustion and it’s the most common reaction to the severe heat we experience all the time.
5. People with mental illness have more chances of dying during a heat wave
A person’s mental health has a strong relation to how their brain copes with the heat wave. Numerous researchers reveal that a person already having mental illness has a three time higher risk of dying than one without it.
Apart from mental issues, a heat wave can also cause other grave problems like heat stroke, excessive dehydration, increased blood pressure and many more.
According to BBC, around 1,300 people die after only a few days’ heat stroke. Each year, Karachi’s graveyards are readied beforehand to cope with the worst situation that can possibly happen.
Now the question that arises here is what could a Pakistani layman do about it? Well, do not worry for we are coming up with a new blog on how you can kick the heat wave in affordable means.
Is Gender Equality In Pakistan Still A Rare Possibility?
You would think that after the highly effective #MeToo campaign last year, we would be living in a much more gender equal world than was the case in years gone by. To be honest, great progress has been made when it comes to achieving gender equality but the work is far from done. Whether you are talking about greater gender balance in offices and workplaces or elsewhere in the societies, a lot has been achieved in recent years and decades but a lot still needs to be done.
Talking in general terms, women all around the world have come a long way in their fight for proper recognition, equal rights, and justice. Be it the Suffragettes movement almost a century ago or the very recent #MeToo campaign, women have had to fight on so many fronts to get their due rights and recognition.
But, as already stated, the job is far from done. Patriarchal and misogynistic mindsets still exist in significant numbers even in those Western societies where women seem to be fully empowered and apparently enjoy the same status as the men. Lots of obstacles and negative attitudes still need to be taken care of before proper gender equality can be witnessed all around the world.
Gender Equality In Pakistan
Talking specifically with regard to Pakistan, the women here have also had to fight long and hard for most things. And just like in the rest of the world, Pakistani women have had to fight for most things.
Their status today is much better than what they enjoyed a decade or even half a decade ago and their stature is rising all the time. However, a lot remains to be done and the stats in this regard paint a rather bleak picture of the situation.
Pakistan ranks second from bottom on the Global Gender Gap Index (an annual measurement tool used by the World Economic Forum for finding out the level of gender equality and inequality in every country on earth).
For the year 2017, the Global Gender Gap Index placed Pakistan on the 143rd spot out of 144 countries. This is pretty alarming, to say the least.Of course, stats do not lie but they also do not tell the whole story at times.
With regard to gender equality in Pakistan, while no one in their right mind would claim that there is anything remotely resembling gender equality in the country, the status of women in the society is improving all the time.
Working Women In Pakistan
Today there are more working women in Pakistan than at any other time in history and their numbers will only grow in the coming years. More women in business, more women entrepreneurs, more female-led businesses, and more women in leadership positions can be seen today.
On top of that, more and more female students are attaining higher education, almost to the point where girls outnumber the boys in many educational institutions. But then again, this is the story of the more empowered urban segments of society where women seemingly enjoy equal status as the men. And it is great to see.
However, for a country that has more than half of its population comprising of women, a lot more has to be done and achieved before we can begin to talk about anything remotely resembling gender equality.
More women now make up the country’s labor force working in various fields and industries. They are also a lot more likely to access proper healthcare services than their mothers or grandmothers who mostly had to rely on the village quack or midwife, rather, were made to rely on these incompetent frauds.
Hurdles Faced By Women In Rural Areas
Due to the outdated customs and traditional practices which are often confused with Islamic teachings, women in rural areas still have many constraints which restrict their access to proper education and healthcare services.
Whereas the Quran clearly mentions that the Almighty has created all men and women as equals from a single soul. Vested interests of certain segments of society and inaccurate interpretations mean that the point about women enjoying certain rights over men is mostly ignored.
Furthermore, the women working in the labor force are mostly part of the informal sector, where they work long hours on minimum wages and with no legal protection.
All in all, great strides have been made in recent times with regard to gender equality in Pakistan. However, the destination remains a long way away. Getting to that stage is certainly possible but a lot more needs to be done in this regard.
The Untold But Horrific Tale Of Child Labors In Pakistan
Children are the real assets of any nation and if they don’t get what they really deserve in an exchange with their innocence. The downfall of a nation begins with a quite low-level possibility of getting themselves back on track.
Child Labor – A Serious Issue
Child labor is a worldwide issue and globally working organization, ILO (International Labor Organization), has a department of IPEC that has a project of SCREAM.
International Labor Organization (ILO)
ILO has a mission to promote social justice over the world and recognizes the human and labor rights internationally. Not all the work done by the children is known as the child labor.
Child labor is defined by the international standards as the work that is hazardous. Child labor has different types including slavery and similar issues such as the trafficking of children, debt bondage, serfdom, children in armed conflict.
According to a survey, 151.6 million of children that are between the age of 5 to 17 are involved in some kind of child labor worldwide.
However, in European countries, especially USA and UK, a matter of child labor is being a serious issue and these countries have worked to overcome this issue.
But in the third world countries like Pakistan and India. Child labor rate is increased dramatically over the past few years. The labor rate is almost 50% in Pakistan as 19 million children out of 40 million are working.
Finding The Real Issue
Where is the issue? Why is this ratio increasing? Why are all of us sleeping? The answer to these three questions is quite straight. The literacy rate of Pakistan is 45-55%. It means that half of the young generation is a part of a child labor.
How much they earn? On an average, a child earns less than a 100 rupee or $1 USD. Despite global efforts and petitions from humanitarian groups, there are still many major companies around the world that employ child labor in order to make a profit.
With overhead costs and an increasingly competitive market to think of, many major companies turn to young laborers in order to get their products made quickly, and incredibly cheaply. These famous companies include Nestle, Walmart, H&M, Phillip Morris, Victoria’s Secret, GAP, Apple, Forever 21, Hershey’s and Disney etc.
These children don’t play with the toys and therefore lose their innocence at an early age. Their behavior, body language and the way they spend their life is entirely different from a child who goes to school.
Consequently, these children have a compact vision in life, their goals remain small, they don’t have an aim in life. They don’t know what success can be like or what hope is. They just do work and spend their whole life just like that.
Who Is at Fault?
The biggest regret is that it’s not their fault. When children start working at an early age, at that time they don’t even know where they are stepping and why.
The government should take action to stop this child labor issue by providing education facility to these innocent kids.
Poverty should be reduced so that their parents send them to school instead of work. And awareness should be spread among their parents. So that the future of this nation can be secure by educating these children not only by books but also by moral lessons. Otherwise, these children will not become patriotic.
Most of the street crimes we see around us are done by those, who had a dark childhood. Therefore, not only the government, but we all should take several steps to make these children patriotic, save their future and make the future of the country brighter.
This whole discussion can’t be concluded without the teachings of Islam and our Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH who always loved children because they are innocent. He (PBUH) loved them like they were his own children.
Today, we are in dire need to follow these golden principles and teachings of Islam. Eventually, we will be a successful nation of the world and will spread this message worldwide that children are no doubt, the largest asset of any nation. They just need a proper guidance from the right leader at the right time and nothing will be able to stop them then.
Pakistan’s Transgender Community Has Come A Long Way, Are They Making Progress In The Right Direction?
These days the social networks in the country are abuzz with discussion about one Marvia Malik, Pakistan’s first transgender news anchor working at Lahore-based TV channel Kohenoor News. The 21-year-old journalist has been the talk of the town since her first on-air appearance as a news anchor on March 23, 2018. Subsequent days and weeks have seen her news clips and videos going viral on social media, with many praising the news network’s move and calling it a big step forward in the transgender community’s quest for equal rights and recognition. It certainly is a step in the right direction and people like Marvia will surely be a huge inspiration for others in the transgender community.
Recent years have brought some positive developments for the marginalized sexual minority. In a landmark decision in 2009, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that transgender individuals could be issued national identity cards as a “third gender.” Though practical implementation of this ruling still leaves a lot to be desired nearly a decade later, the decision did prove to be something of a game-changer for the transgender community. The society’s attitude has become slightly more accepting and tolerant which wasn’t always the case. As a result of this decision, the country’s database registration authority NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) introduced an employment quota for transgender people. For a community that had long been shunned everywhere and hardly ever got respectable paid work in any field or public domain, this was something of a Godsend.
More such small signs of encouragement have been witnessed in recent times, in spite of the fact that the majority of the community still lives a life of marginalization and discrimination. Some even argue that the community is in a much better position in society than it was even just a few years ago. While it is true that more laws have been enacted by authorities in recent times in an attempt to safeguard the rights of the transgender community, the overall picture and the situation on the ground indicates that their struggle for acceptance and basic rights still has a long way to go.
Known in the local Urdu language as “hijras” or “khawaja sarras,” transgender people have become somewhat more accepted in the society. There has been some change in the attitudes of the people towards the hijras. However, this acceptance hasn’t yet become as widespread as it ideally should be. Stories like that of Marvia Malik, though hugely inspirational, are few and far between as the majority of the people from the community continue to live as the outcasts they have always been.
Believe In Yourself – Marvia Malik
For Marvia Malik, it is all about people from her community believing in themselves and being brave enough to push past the limitations that society has imposed on them for so long. A journalism graduate from Punjab University in Lahore, Malik wants her fellow community members to look up to her as an inspiration and go after with what they want in life with courage and determination. Her decision to apply for a position at Kohenoor News was rooted in this same line of thinking. She wanted to prove that transgender people are normal humans just like any man or woman and they are capable of doing and achieving anything that they want to achieve. Malik believes that transgender people can become valuable and productive members of the society if given the same rights and opportunities and if the sexual and gender discrimination that they are subjected to is put to an end.
Recent years have brought more good news for the community. In 2011, transgender people were granted the right to vote for the first time, while as recently as last year the government has started issuing passports having a gender column for transgender people. Similarly, in 2016 the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province in the north-west of Pakistan, issued driving licenses to transgender people marked with an “X” for gender. Carrying on in this fashion, the 2017 census in the country saw transgender people being counted as citizens for the first time. And in yet another landmark policy initiative, earlier this year the Senate of Pakistan unanimously passed a bill to protect the rights of transgender people.
Despite these signs of progress, the way ahead is a long one. Violence against the community is still pretty widespread as its members are routinely attacked, abducted, raped, murdered, and compelled to become sex workers, dancers, and beggars. For people like Marvia Malik and Zara Changezi (a transgender rights activist who starred in a major film recently), the change has to begin at home. As someone who was thrown out by her family after 10th grade, Malik knows what the typical transgender has to go through in this society. She had to work long hours at a beauty salon just to earn enough to feed herself and be able to go to college. She feels that her struggle isn’t any different from that of any “hijra” begging on the streets.
Therefore, while it is all good to have laws enacted for the protection of the transgender community, real change will only come if families stop abandoning their transgender offspring.