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Government drafts policy to secure nationwide mental health service facilities
Online Desk |:| Tue, 23 Feb'2016, 12:20 AM |:| Online Version
Government drafts policy to secure nationwide mental health service facilities
The government has started to provide mental health counselling facilities for people from all walks of life.

The women and children affairs ministry has published a draft policy titled ‘National Psychological Counselling Policy 2016’.

The policy will help establish psycho-social counselling services addressing several aspects including family relationships, professional life and suicide prevention.

Psycho-social counselling services for the mental health of professionals in philanthropic, social welfare organizations and communications, emergency service providing agencies, and rape and sexual assault survivors will be provided as well.

Several sections of the policy address issues of stigmatised populations including drug addicts, HIV virus infected people, transgender, sex workers and homosexuals.
The ministry’s State Minister Meher Afroz Chumki said, “Issues, tension and frustration pushes people towards depression.”

She added that society often treats people as insane when they could easily be helped with counselling.

According to the draft policy, 4.6 percent of Bangladesh’s population suffers from depression. Ninety percent of the people who committed suicide had some sort of mental health issue.

Quoting National Mental Health Council and World Health Organisation (WHO)’s 2006 research, the drafts says 16.1 percent of the Bangladeshi people suffer from mental health issues.

These issues develop from malnutrition, lack of proper childcare, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, social, family and relationship problems, mental stress, mental and sexual harassment, dowry, extra-marital affairs, domestic violence etc.

The draft policy reads, psycho-social counselling service is essential to ensure the physical, mental, social and spiritual well being of people.

It says these counselling services are essential for reducing mental health issues and building a positive perception of society.

The policy will also ensure psycho-social counselling services in all mental health help centers, hospitals and upazila health complexes.

Who will be covered

Once the policy comes into force, employees and workers of government, autonomous, private and commercial organisations, and industrial factories will receive counselling for anger and stress management, professional and social communications etc.

Government officials and religious leaders will receive grief-counselling training for people who have lost a loved one in accidents.

Counselling will be provided for women in prisons and safe custodies, as well as family members of death-row convicts.

District hospitals and Upazila health complexes will get clinical psychologists, social workers and clinical social workers to counsel and build self-confidence of drug addicts.

Employees of transports facilities, fire fighting and other emergency help providing agencies, defence, traffic police and media, orphanage and old-homes will come under the facilities of counselling and training.

One government official from every district and Upazila will be trained to provide marriage-counselling facilities to address mutual understanding before marriage, importance of marriage and married life, divorce and mental health etc.

Every educational institution will have counselors to address sex education for adolescents to prevent early-age pregnancy, rape, sexual harassment etc.

Two teachers from each institution will receive training to address issues including teacher-student relationship development.

Details of this 22 page draft policy are available on the ministry’s website.

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