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Mental Health of Kashmiris Needs Urgent Attention: Survey

e were forced to perform labour (33.7 percent), or to give shelter to militants (18.4 percent).

Not surprisingly, given the incidence of violence reported, approximately half the sample interviewed in the MSF survey reported they never, or only occasionally, felt safe.

The responses to the Self-Report Questionnaire - developed by the World Health Organisation to measure psychological distress, particularly in developing countries - also revealed that one-third of the respondents suffered from psychological distress.

This figure rises to more than 70 percent of people suffering psychological distress if the more widely accepted lower cut-off score is utilised.

The MSF report points to an acute need for a wide range of psychiatric and psychosocial support in Kashmir. There is only one mental asylum at Rainawari in Srinagar to cater to the needs of the entire state.

The findings of the survey reveal a bleak picture of the mental health of people in the conflict-afflicted region and raise important questions about the government's failure to adequately provide mental health services to the population.

It also begs further discussion of the continuing situation of impunity in Kashmir for those who perpetrate acts of terror and violence against the people of the region. Until this cycle of violence is addressed, the situation of the people of Kashmir cannot be improved, says MSF.

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