Trustworthy Foundation (TWF) is a non-profit, non-government organization (NGO). The NGO was initiated in Dhaka, Bangladesh to work on the mental health of the children as well as the young generation.TWF for mentally challenged children is striving to be a source of support for mental health education and support for people suffering with mental health issues and their families in Bangladesh.
An Overview of Mental Health Issues in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh mental health is widely misunderstood and stigmatized. Severely under-resourced, Pabna Mental Hospital is the only government-run mental health hospital in the country and has only 500 beds. There are few specialist physicians and psychiatrists. Only 0.5% of the state health budget is spent on mental health. According to the World Health Organization report, published in 2005, the Bangladesh health department spent US $1.4 million on mental health. Social insurance plans do not cover mental health disorders, and no human rights review organization exists to investigate mental health facilities, the WHO report stated. According to Mostafa Zaman, from the World Health
people in Bangladesh do not recognize mental health as a disease
In a 2011 interview, he stated that not much has improved in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the Lunacy Act of 1912, which permits discrimination against the mentally ill, is still in effect in Bangladesh. In 2006, a draft mental health act was developed but not accepted.
A 2011 National Institute of Mental Health report suggested there are 14.5 million adults with mental illnesses in the country. Approximately 20% of children aged 12 – 17 have a mental illness. A report by BMC Psychiatry suggested that
“research on mental disorders is not at an adequate level in Bangladesh given the size of the issues.”
In rural regions, there are precious few physicians, so families usually bring the patient to a traditional healer. The healer might attempt to exorcise the spirits with sacred water and passages from the Koran. Families that have a relative with mental health concerns at times tie them up out of necessity and lack of knowledge. Families believe they have no alternative but to tie them up since they have been released from the hospital but are still violent. Sometimes when they are in the hospital, they get sedatives, but when they come home, the tranquilizers wear off. Many of the people in hospitals have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, mood disorders, and addictions. They are treated as a hardship to the family and can make it difficult to work. Some people never return home from the hospital, but most are released within three to six months. However, it is a revolving door because there are no outpatient services.
The weight of mental disorders is high in Bangladesh, yet it is a widely unrecognized and under-researched area. There are only 134 psychiatrists in the whole country. A recent study found that children’s mental health prevalence was greater in rural areas with 17.5 percent versus 14.3 percent. These areas have even fewer resources. The overall situation in Bangladesh in the area of mental health is desperate. This is the reason we created the Trustworthy Foundation. It is our hope that we can increase access to education and provide this support to individuals and families that suffer from various mental health issues.