The organisers of the Walk are Umang Pakistan, who run a mental health helpline in Pakistan. Umang has organised this event to formally conclude the month of September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
The mental health activists aim to eradicate stigma attached to mental health by bringing more awareness to it. They hope to do this by sharing stories and resources with both the affected and unaffected.
According to Dawn news, between 15-35 people end their lives in Pakistan every day- amounting to almost one person an hour.
It is estimated that around 800, 000 people lose their lives to suicide every year.
A survey conducted by Dawn news showed that out of more than 5000 people:
Suicide rates have proved to be the highest among young people and the second leading cause of death in the age group of 15-29 years old around the world.
In Pakistan, suicide is considered a criminal offence according to Pakistan Penal Code 306, as taking one’s life is forbidden in Islam.
However, if the government hopes to control the rising suicide rates in the country, they must decriminalize suicide and offer better mental health care services in medical institutions.
Doing so should greatly reduce the fear of reaching out when having suicidal thoughts, or when plagued by a mental illness, which would allow medical experts to conduct proper research into the issue and determine how to fix it.
Improving services of existing medical institutions would allow a larger group of people to seek help for their disturbances; currently, therapy and rehabilitation are seen as a luxury reserved for higher class citizens.
Umang Pakistan have an online presence on social media, where they often post bouts of information regarding different kinds of mental illnesses, from those that are highly stigmatized to those that are lesser known but of equal importance.
They are playing their part in making mental health aid more accessible by offering a free helpline run by clinical psychologists and certified counselors. In this way, they are able to cater to people who cannot afford counseling or want to be discreet about the matter.