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Dhaka Tribune

British Council hosts Commonwealth Scholars Engagement seminar on mental health

  • The second session will be held on November 16
  • Mental healthcare in Bangladesh enormously inadequate
Update : 03 Oct 2023, 08:42 PM

The British Council Bangladesh hosted the Commonwealth Scholars Engagement session on mental health on Monday at its office in Dhaka.

The Bangladesh Association of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows (BACSAF) organized the program.

The second session will be held on November 16 at Bangladesh Agriculture University, Mymensingh.

Citing a study, the British Council on Tuesday said the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the mental health of the Bangladeshi population. Symptoms of depressive, stress and anxiety in the adult population are much higher than pre-pandemic rates now.

But the mental healthcare in Bangladesh is “enormously inadequate” owing to a lack of public mental health facilities, scarcity of skilled mental health professionals, insufficient financial resource distribution and societal stigma, the British Council said citing a report.

“We are delighted to host Commonwealth Scholars alumni in a mental health and well-being session. The Committee seeks to demonstrate its relevance and the breadth of members' expertise and allows it to leverage the knowledge and experience of expert leaders from almost every field in Bangladesh,” David Knox, director programs Bangladesh, British Council, said.

“It is increasingly recognized that post-pandemic, there is a global mental health emergency; today's session will offer participants practical tips to overcome stigma and to provide ways of addressing stress, anxiety and depression.”

Monira Rahman, a Commonwealth Fellow and a mental health expert, said: “October is the month for raising awareness of mental health. We must realise that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can't be achieved without ensuring mental health.”

Prof Dr Rafiqul Islam, president of BACSAF, said that they had formed the association to promote professional networking and collaboration among Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows so that “we together can contribute towards the country's sustainable development.”

Since the first Commonwealth Scholarships were awarded in 1960, over 1,800 Bangladeshi students have received scholarships and fellowships.

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