Bangladesh needs community level mental health services

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Bangladesh needs community level mental health services

Dr. Graham Powell speaks at the 6th Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Conference

BM Report

Speakers at an international conference in the city on Saturday stressed on expansion of community based mental health services in the country.

At the opening session of the 6th Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Conference they noted that scopes are there to add mental health services in Community Health Services programs, being implemented by the government.

“There remain huge scopes for work at the community level in mental health services in Bangladesh,” said Dr. Graham Powell, the former president of the British Psychological Society, special guest at the conference, organized by the Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society (BCPS) and the Clinical Psychology of the University of Dhaka.

Chief Guest at session and the VC of the Dhaka University, Prof. Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman, said, “The biggest obstacle in treatment and prevention of mental illness in Bangladesh is people’s misconceptions about mental health..if disease in body demands treatment, disease in mind also needs treatment.”

The conference theme this year is, “Community-based mental health key to bridge mental Health service gap in Bangladesh. Speakers at the conference noted that mental health should be taken into the attention of everyone and availability of trained psychologists should also be increased.

In his keynotes, General Secretary of the BCPS, Dr. Shahnur Hossain said mental health services at community level can create awareness about mental health among people.  He cited a 2018-19 survey of the National Institute of Mental Health of Bangladesh showing that 92% of people in Bangladesh do not receive any treatment for mental illness while 18.7% of adults and 12.6% of children and adolescents suffer from mental health problems. Some 6.7% of adults suffer from depression and 4.7% from anxiety disorders. He noted that the country has about 1,000 psychologists and this number is very poor compared to the size of population.

Dr. Robed Amin, Line Director at the Non-Communicable Disease Control Program of the Department of Health, Prof. Dr.Mahbub Hasan, Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Dhaka University also spoke at the session, presided over by Dr. Muhammad Kamruzzaman Mazumdar, president of the BCPS.

Dr. Mahbub said many brain chemicals play roles in our thoughts and emotional problems and the state of mind, which affects the body, is also associated with food.

Dr. Kamruzzaman emphasized on increasing the government’s cooperation in getting mental health services among common people by reduced cost. He informed that the Clinical Psychology of the University of Dhaka and the BCPS have been working continuously since 1997 to raise awareness about mental health.

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