Why Mental Health?
In Bangladesh, 16.1% of the adult population suffer from mental health issues and among them, 92% do not have access to psychiatric care. For the greater part of Bangladesh, Mental Health is still a myth, stigma, and taboo; making it imperative to intervene in order to change the overall outlook.
SAJIDA Mental Health Program (SMHP) aims to support, protect and promote mental health and psychosocial wellbeing for all. Backed by evidence-based research, SMHP has been working to provide affordable mental health services primarily to the lower-income and ultra-poor population.
SMHP strives to provide professional and quality mental health services affordable for all, while working towards few key targets:
- Raise awareness and break the stigma around mental health
- Develop affordable, scalable and inclusive community based mental health care models
- Scale up specialized mental health service through decentralization to improve accessibility of clinical and emotional support services
- Assess mental health needs and accordingly expand scope of work in different interventions
- Introduce functional recovery and community rehabilitation focused mental health intervention models
Projects & Initiatives
SHOJON – Tele-Mental Health Service
A unique tele-mental health service aimed at providing affordable services for all socio-economic populations, with primary focus on lower-income and ultra-poor populations. Using a hybrid tech platform, SHOJON provides different layers of services based on need making it a one-stop solution for different types of mental health issues.
Services initiate from primary care, all the way to long-term intervention such as counseling/psychotherapy and psychiatric support from psychologists and psychiatrists over call(s).
Since inception, SHOJON is continuously working to build capacity.
Kaan Pete Roi
Kaan Pete Roi (KPR) – emotional support and suicide prevention helpline
Bangladesh’s first emotional support and suicide prevention helpline, staffed by trained volunteers that people can call to receive immediate psychological support. It is the first of its kind in Bangladesh and is a verified member of the International Befrienders Worldwide Suicide Prevention network.
Total calls: 45772, Suicidal calls: 15.5%, More than 500 volunteers trained
(an ongoing development)
SAJIDA Mental Health Residential Facility – functionality focused care
In a nation of 16+ crore in population, there are only two Government based mental hospitals and 72 residential care facilities.
To mitigate this service gap, SMHP initiated a first-of-its-kind, 50-bed capacity, functionality focused mental health rehabilitation facility in Chunarughat, Habiganj. With focus to create an eco-friendly, sustainable and low-cost replicable model, the facility will be operational within 2 years.
Proshanti – community based transitional care
With mental health still being a stigma for the greater part of the population, severely ill patients are locked up in institutions only to be forgotten without care. with supportive services.
Proshanti offers shared housing for homeless persons with mental health issues with long-term needs with an aim to create a safe, familial environment that improves quality of life and fosters hope for the person with disability, To reintegrate them back into society, promote inclusion and social mobility; Proshanti will provide dedicated supportive services.
Psychosocial Well-Being for RMG Workers
A nationwide cross-sectional study of the pandemic showed that 59.7% of respondents reported mild to extremely severe levels of stress. Additionally, 43% of RMG workers dealt with economic hardship, illness and mental strains during the early stage of the pandemic.
SMHP is working to strengthen the mental health of garment workers, predominantly females, through the integration of mental health information, support, and services across the workplace.
With an aim to transform mental health provision and awareness in RMG factories, train and build capacity of factory workers to contribute in promoting psychosocial well being, positively impact productivity, absenteeism, turnover and work conditions in RMG factories; the project is operating in collaboration with British Asian Trust to make the intervention model scalable for replication throughout the RMG sector.
Bangladesh’s limited number of mental health professionals is considered one of the prime reasons for lack of expanded service portfolio across the country. As such, SMHP is building capacity by training professionals to be deployed at root levels.
A 6-month long Community Mental Health Training of Trainers (ToT) Program developing Master Trainers who will in turn train community level mental health workers to actively address the gap at the grassroots level.
SMHP collaborated with Lifeline Johannesburg, South Africa on a 4-month long Counselling Course Module where participants who successfully completed it will incorporate this learning into the capacity building initiatives.
SAJIDA has partnered with the British Asian Trust to launch a mental health support program. Currently the program has set its focus on providing their services to the frontline healthcare workers, Covid-19 positive patents and their family members.
SHMP Intervention for SUDIN and CCDM
SMHP is working with SAJIDA program’s to embed mental health perspectives and interventions to holistically ensure health and wellbeing of urban extreme poor. SMHP has designed 6 training modules for development of 25 caseworkers of SUDIN. Till now, they provided 68 wellbeing sessions to 816 community members. An additional 1,339 community members were assessed using standardized tool GHQ-12, 128 clients were referred to SHOJON for long term mental health services and 21 severe clients took psychiatric consultation.
In CCDM SMHP worked towards building mental health awareness, assessing mental health issues, rehabilitation, and community mobilization in disaster-prone areas. Community mobilizers deployed in Shyamnagar and Mongla.
Mental Health Webinar on Self Care During the Pandemic
Mental Health Webinar on Importance of Quality Sleep
Mental Health Webinar on Empathy in workplace
Mental Health Webinar on Relaxation Techniques