About Afghan Psychiatric Association

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Thank you for your interest in the Afghan Psychiatric Association website.

It is an honor and a privilege to start the first steps in establishing an international organization for mental health care providers serving Afghan Citizens in Afghanistan and around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The stigma (cultural and at times religious) associated with mental health issues make it is particularly hard for mental healthcare providers to offer their help to needy populations. As individuals are encouraged to seek help when they have physical illnesses, they should also be encouraged to seek help when suffering from mental health issues. Therefore, psychoeducation is an essential tool in promoting awareness about mental health issues in a country like Afghanistan.

Mental illnesses constitute a substantial portion of disability worldwide. In the United States of America alone, mental illness makes up “over 15% of overall burden of disease from all causes”. WHO report in 2004 shows that about 180 million people may suffer from depression. Survivors of suicide attempt who later in life developed terminal illnesses (e.g. cancers), report that the mental pain is much worse than the physical pain associated with end-stage illnesses.

The burden of mental illnesses is even larger in conflict zones. Social, economical, political, and military disasters increase the likelihood of mental illnesses substantially. Therefore, a country like Afghanistan is in dire need for mental health care providers. Being isolated politically, geographically, and to some degrees culturally from the rest of the world, the plight of mental illnesses remains under-estimated and under-treated at best (if not treated at all) in Afghanistan.

In spite of rapidly growing population, the mental healthcare providers remain at finger-count inside the Afghan orders. There are, however, a significant number of Afghan physicians practicing psychiatry in the developed world. The purpose of the current endeavor is to make those formally trained psychiatrists accessible to the patients, trainees, and medical educators inside Afghanistan. Moreover, we also want to bring the psychiatric issues of Afghan citizen the world. Therefore, we have also started a journal that will emphasize on Afghan psychiatric issues.

In the Journal of Afghan Psychiatric Association, we plan to address the available research and treatment option for common and rare psychiatric illnesses seen in Afghanistan. We will promote scientific exploration of culturally bound syndromes restricted to Afghanistan as well. We will invite psychiatrist throughout the world to contribute to the journal. We will also invite Afghan mental healthcare providers to publish their scholarly works and viewpoints. There is ever growing evidence for some well defined psychiatric illnesses with effective, and at times, inexpensive treatment options. We will make these treatment guidelines and available algorithms available to mental healthcare providers in Afghanistan. We are also committed to bring to front issues that Afghan women and children are struggling with. We are not a political group, and as such, we WILL NOT participate in any political discussion. We are also committed to promoting evidence based science, therefore, even at the cost of some political unease, we will try to address the mental health issues that Afghan people inside and outside of Afghanistan are struggling with.

We understand that we have taken a difficult task up us. We are aware of the problems that will arise the years to come, but we are committed to our humane cause. We will invite elite scholars around the world for their expertise and guidance in building a strong base for psychiatric healthcare for Afghan people. The site is under construction and we welcome any constructive comments and advice. We will try our best to keep the Afghan Psychiatric Association dynamic and invite the younger generation to participate and, hopefully lead, the association.

We enthusiastically ask the viewers to submit their opinions and articles to our journal and take part in promoting evidence based psychiatric care for Afghan people.

Thank you once again for taking your time to read this introduction and looking forward to your comments.


Hafizullah Ajmal Azizi, M.D.

Partam Manalai, M.D.
Founder and General Secretary

Mohammad Khan Safi, M.D.
First President of Afghan Psychiatric Association (2010 - 2011).

Ayan Ghairatmal, M.D.
Public Relation Coordinator

Hafizullah Ajmal Azizi, M.D.
Education Coordinator

Gul G. Manalai, M.D.
Children and Women Issues Coordinator

Aamar Sleemi, M.D.
Research Promotion and Evidence Based Practice Coordinator

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