What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community (IRC MHPSS Framework).  It is a universal human right. Mental health is a vital component that supports individuals to build relationships and form the ability to make decisions, develop relationships. Mental health encompasses more than just the absence of mental disorders and it varies from person to person with various degrees of difficulty and distress.[1]


Conditions of Mental Health

Many factors influence mental health conditions including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes, brain chemistry, hormonal imbalances, and neurological conditions.
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Having feelings of loneliness or isolation
  • Family history of mental health problems
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Anxiety disorders (including generalized anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, and social anxiety)
  • Child and Adolescent Mental and Behavioral Disorder (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Intellectual disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders (including Anorexia Nervosa, binge eating disorder, and Bulimia Nervosa)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychoses condition such as Schizophrenia
  • Epilepsy
  • Dementia
  • Disorder due to substance use (SUB)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide and suicidal behavior[2]


Why Mental health is important?

Mental Health is one of the most pressing issues in the contemporary world. The surge of mental health problems indicates that it’s high time to intervene on the issue for individual and community wellbeing. It is concerning that approximately one in eight individuals worldwide are experiencing mental health conditions.[3]  Mental disorders have implications for physical health, social connections, and livelihoods. Furthermore, there is a growing prevalence of mental health conditions among adolescents and young people. This highlights the importance of addressing and prioritizing mental health to ensure the well-being of individuals across different age groups. Preserving optimal mental health is vital for our general well-being and physical health. There’s a link between our physical health and mental health. Mental illness can induce stress and weaken the immune system of the body. This leads to long-term health conditions such as immune disorders and metabolic disorders not only that it also affects the quality of life. So, to have a sound and quality life it is a very important issue to emphasize on.


Mental health in Bangladesh

Mental Health is mostly overlooked in Bangladesh. In socio-cultural context of Bangladesh, this very topic of Mental Health is stigmatized, and not many people are interested enough to share their emotional and psychological issues. The predominance of mental disorders is very high in Bangladesh, but the country has very few facilities for psychiatric patients. The lack of awareness about mental health in Bangladesh contributes to insufficient care programs. According to the latest data from the National Mental Health Survey 2018-2019, more than 18 percent of adults (above 18 years of age) in Bangladesh suffer from some form of mental illness and 12.6 percent of adolescents (age of 7-17) are diagnosed with mental illness. 1 in every 5 women in the country is suffering from mental problems.8   


Where to get support related to mental health in Bangladesh?

There are very few institutions that work for mental health in Bangladesh.

  1. The National Institute of Mental Health which is situated in Sher -E- Bangla nagar, Dhaka providing mental health support since 2001. Around 300 doctors and staff are working to support mental health-related issues. It can accommodate around 400 in-house patients at a time.  Various types of psychotherapy and counseling are also provided by psychiatrists for different kinds of disorders. For more details anyone can visit their website - www.nimh.gov.bd.[4]
  2. Kaan Pete Roi- Kaan Pete Roi, the first-ever emotional support and suicide prevention helpline in Bangladesh, has been trying to alleviate mental issues like distress, isolation, despair, and suicidal thoughts since 2013 by trained volunteers for immediate support. Hotline- (01779554391 / 01779554392)[5]
  3. Moner Bondhu- Moner Bondhu is a mental healthcare and wellbeing platform in Bangladesh that has been providing accessible and affordable mental healthcare services since 2016. The organization provides counseling sessions tailored to individual needs, as well as specialized corporate counseling sessions. Contact details -(01776632344)[6]
  4. “SHOJON- tele mental health service” is an initiative of the SAJIDA Foundation aiming to ensure mental health care for underprivileged individuals who can’t access mental health services. The services range from primary care to long-term intervention such as counseling/psychotherapy and psychiatric support from psychologists and psychiatrists. Anyone from any region of the country can take mental health services an affordable cost using their mobile by calling on a common number- 09612-119900 (from 8am-8 pm)[7]


Contacts for emergency assistance:

The National Health Service: 16263

Child Support Helpline: 1098

Mother and Child Health Services: 09666888888

Health information or medical advice: 333-1

National Emergency Services: 999

UNHCR Hotline (support related to Rohingya people in Camps): 16670


For more information or any specific information, contact us –

Email: Info.Sheba@rescue.org                                                                          WhatsApp: +8801810008500 

Facebook: facebook.com/Signpost.Infosheba


Reference sources:

[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

[2] https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health

[3] https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2023

[4] https://nimh.gov.bd/

[5]  https://kprchat.org/

[6] https://monerbondhu.com/

[7] https://www.sajida.org/sajidas-approach/fostering-equity/mental-health/

[8] https://bangla.thedailystar.net/health/news-402561