Mental Health Landscape in Bangladesh: Insights for 2024

Mental health issues in Bangladesh are a severe problem. One of the biggest concerns is the lack of awareness and accessibility to mental health services. Even though mental health is as important as physical health, the stigma around mental health is still prevalent. This is due to various reasons, including the belief that mental health needs to be hidden and kept private. Some still believe treating mental health problems is the only way to “fix them.”

According to recent studies, the prevalence of mental health disorders is very high in Bangladesh. The mental health situation in Bangladesh is shocking. WHO reports that Bangladesh is one of the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of mental health disorders globally. The report states that 30 percent of the population suffers from mental health problems.

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Stressors and mental health in Bangladesh’s current situation and future hopes

The mental health situation in Bangladesh is on the verge of disaster. A new mental health bill drafted by the Government intended to give mental health professionals (e.g., psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers) more power to treat patients in the country is almost ready. It is an important bill that will help curtail high suicide rates among institutionalized people, reduce the number of psychiatric patients in the country, and improve the quality of care for those already institutionalized.

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Bangladesh may be a densely populated country with a population density of 1063 per square kilometer, and the total population is about 160 million. The health sector is advancing dramatically with its existing human resources, significantly empowering the first health care. It can be said that the overall services of mental healthcare are inferior in Bangladesh. Hence, to supply higher psychological state coverage and services, psychological state support with the local organizations.

General practitioners may receive training in assessing, planning, and prescribing the most common psychological state problems. Still, they’re insufficient in frequency and quantity thanks to various factors like fund problems. Human, logistic, and financial resources for the psychological state of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, single beds, community services allocation, and psychological conditions are inferior.

Due to Bangladesh’s high prevalence of mental disorders, the benefits of integrating psychological states in medical care are enormous in reducing disease burden, treatment gap, and price burden for people and families, promoting respect for human rights and overall health outcomes. Adequate training during undergraduate education, refresher training, and continued medical education in the psychological state of medical care physicians is crucial for identifying individuals with psychological disorders in medical care.

Considering the scarcity of human resources for health that most people access informal providers in Bangladesh, training the regular healers under the formal umbrella subject to required rules and regulations could also be explored. Utilizing the informal sector might reduce the load on the prevailing human resource crisis and facilitate reducing stigma related to psychological state disorders.

Feasible collaboration and communication with the secondary and tertiary level specialist services using modern technology can’t be underestimated. The first care focused on psychological state care and general practice specializing in screening, detection, treatment, referral, and follow from Depression. Other mental disturbances can play out because of the best way of covering the bulk of the psychological state of patients at the community level.

Telepsychiatric approaches like video conferencing and teleconferencing consulting methods are often wont to support the first care services. Furthermore, extensive research can pave pathways to what works and what doesn’t.

Read: Raju Akon, Clinical & Counseling Psychologist, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Mental Health Stigma in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s shortage of data and psychological state practitioners leads people to hunt for help from traditional healers, with damaging and potentially fatal consequences. Bangladesh has a population of 160 million but only 50 clinical psychologists and 200 psychiatrists. That’s 800,00 people for each psychological state specialist. It is often difficult to understand who to show with such scarce infrastructure, clinics, or services to access support. During this barren of information, dangerous myths spread quickly—myths about evil spirits, about people with a mental disease possessed by the devil.

In Bangladesh, mental health challenges remain unmet thanks to a lack of awareness and psychological state professionals consistent with experts. According to a 2018 survey on psychological states jointly conducted by the govt and, therefore, the National Institute of Psychological States (NIMH), the general prevalence of mental disorders among the population 18 years and above was 18.7%.

In a survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, a study found that 14,436 people in Bangladesh had committed suicide in Year, 70% quite to a coronavirus claim during that period. We learned from the learned experience that it remains taboo, especially in rural Bangladesh. And it’s also a troublesome job to supply support to patients. We don’t provide proper psychological state treatment and support during childhood. It might become problematic in adulthood for patients.” Shortage of psychological state professionals. Helal Uddin Ahmed, professor of kid adolescent and family psychiatry at NIMH, one among two specialized mental hospitals in Bangladesh, said the country features very limited minimal logical state specialists.

“There are a complete 270 psychiatrists while there aren’t quite 500 psychologists within the country to serve the vast number of psychological state patients. Another alarming issue is most of the cases are from urban areas. The Government must address this shortcoming because long-term psychological state ailments can reduce anticipation by ten years on average. We must extend the psychological state care facility to general hospitals instead of establishing specialized hospitals. People feel discomfort traveling to specialized mental hospitals, fearing stigmatization.

All government hospitals should run psychological state departments to avail themselves of treatment in general hospitals. We must mandatorily incorporate psychological state courses at the MBBS level because this could only help address the country’s crisis of specialist poverty.

Mental Health Problems in Bangladesh

raju akon, counseling psychologist
Raju Akon, Clinical & Counseling Psychologist. He is providing Counseling & other Psychological services at SIBL Foundation Hospital & Diagnostic Center. Dhaka, Bangladesh. To get his appointment, call: 01715-187832

Bangladesh may be a densely populated emerging country in South Asia. Since its short independence war, it’s for repeated floods and other natural and man-inflicted disasters. The internal shift from rural areas to urban centers has increased the vast population, which causes social conflicts. These stressors are related to mental health issues. Poor or developing countries are struggling with this problem in assessing stress-related psychological state issues.

Information from the Ministry of Health and, therefore, the National Institute of psychological state were collected and supplemented by external reports. It’s promising that the Government’s approach to responding to psychological state needs for public health development. It is necessary to develop adequate infrastructure, logistical support, and workforce support and form multidisciplinary management and clinical teams. Collaboration of all related sectors of the govt and an overall increase in government funding for the psychological state are essential.

Meanwhile, the Health Department should launch a separate program to supply training to existing medicine specialists et al. on psychological state care to increase the service to locals. Efforts to provide more specialists with National psychological state Policy and psychological state Strategy Plan are within the pipeline, which might ensure patients’ rights and determine policies on how the world and system will run adequately, said Adequately also worked on the proposal.

A. M. Pervez Rahim, joint secretary, and anxious official with the Ministry of Health, said a legal framework might be crucial to affect the service and ensure patients’ rights properly. Thus, the Government rectified and replaced 1912’s Lunacy Act, enacted by British colonial rulers, with a replacement named the psychological state Act 2018. And it’s an enormous jump to ensure a robust mental healthcare system.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted the psychological state, especially in minors and youngsters. It has raised the suicidal tendency, consistent with recent studies released nationwide. To mitigate this, we will deploy psychological state consultants to all or any primary and high schools nationwide, run awareness programs, and open hotline support on who may be a psychological state specialist.

Read: Best Online Counseling In Bangladesh

Mental Disorder Statistics in Bangladesh

A survey was launched in April–June 2019 to explore the psychological state of the people of Bangladesh; nearly 17% of adults in Bangladesh are affected by psychological state issues, where 16.8% are men and Revolutionary Organization 17 November are women, and among them, 92.3% don’t seek medical attention.

The National Institute of psychological state, with the technical guide of the Planet Health Organization (WHO), revealed the survey’s findings titled “National psychological state Survey, Bangladesh 2018-19” at a program at Krishibid Institute in Dhaka. A study in 2005 showed that 16.1% of mental disturbances cause by the adult population in Bangladesh, with 15.3% of family members related. According to the report, smokers within the household count for 41%, and drug abuse is eighteen.

The survey shows the rate of clinical Depression, 4.5% anxiety, 2.1% somatic symptoms, and related disorders. In comparison, 0.9% have a sleep-wake disorder, 0.3% have a neurodevelopment disorder, 0.7% suffer from obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, 0.1% from sexual dysfunction, 0.2% have substance-related and addictive disorders, 0.1% from a mental disorder, 0.3% neurocognitive disorders and 0.01% have disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders.

When people face problems with mental disturbance, the researchers said, 5.7% of them think if they visit psychiatrists, they could be treated as mad. In rural areas (16.2%), people suffer less mental disturbance than in urban (18.7%) areas. According to the survey, 14% of youngsters aged between seven to 17 years suffer from psychological state issues, and 94.5% don’t seek medical attention.

The report also shows some parameters in several aspects of mental disease, as patients with mental illness are highly stigmatized. The average stigma score is 4.5 out of seven on the stigma scale. Negative attitudes are highly prevalent with the typical two. 6 out of 5 attitude scales.

Mental Health Care Policy in Bangladesh

The country has a high burden of psychological state disorders, with few psychological state services reported nationwide. However, for several reasons, some act segments are under public scrutiny, and we fear that the act won’t ensure an adequate psychological state.

First, the act features a provision of punishing medical practitioners if found guilty of providing a false certificate of mental disease to anyone, two of which may affect the delivery of psychological state services in Bangladesh, a country with low human resources for a psychological state comprising 0.073 psychiatrists per 100 000 population. The new punishment provision might create fear among the prevailing small workforce to supply a proper diagnosis and care in ambiguous cases.

Therefore, the new act might hinder empathetic and proactive mental healthcare delivery rather than increasing access to the services. Second, Bangladesh spends only 0.44% of its healthcare expenditure on psychological state, and no social welfare program covers psychological state services. The new act doesn’t address this enormous economic burden of psychological state care, which remains a severe weakness.

Bangladesh doesn’t have a selected and robust psychological state policy. Earlier policies and action plans integrated psychological state disorders within the spectrum of non-communicable diseases, three of which were insufficient to ensure optimum care to stop, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate mental disorders in a densely populated country like Bangladesh.

The absence of a robust and inclusive psychological state policy to enrich the new act’s strengths and mitigate its weaknesses is a crucial challenge for the state. Because the action is approaching, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers should consider these issues carefully to deal with the pre-existing and emerging gaps and develop a more robust psychological state system in Bangladesh.

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