Speakers for increasing allocation for mental health in national budget

Speakers at a webinar have stressed the need for raising people’s awareness about mental health and increasing allocation for it in the national budget.

The ACTIONISTS organized the webinar on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.

Psychologist Mehtab Khanam said inequality is increasing day by day and economic inequality in particular is becoming more obvious having impact on mental health.

“And there is a deep connection between this inequality and mental health. Having good mental health means that a person does not stumble in life,” said the Professor at the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, Dhaka University.

It is imperative to increase the allocation for mental health in the national budget, said Mehtab Khanam.

Sabina Fayez Rashid, Professor, Dean of James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University; Samanjar Chowdhury, Operations Lead of BRAC Youth Platform, BRAC, Fairuz Faiza Bithar, Co-Founder of Moner School and founder of ACTIONISTS A.N.M Fakhrul Amin Forhad also spoke at the webinar conducted by Sharin Shahjahan Naomi, Assistant Professor, Asian University for Women.

Professor Sabina Fayez Rashid said policies and interventions are needed because mental health issues are still neglected.

“Different communities, young people, government, NGOs and many such organizations are working but there should be more and more discussions on this issue,” she said.

Fairooz Faizah Bitheer said mental health awareness should start at an early age. “Policy makers need to raise their voices on this issue as well. Mental health should not be neglected but should be seen as a priority.”

Samanjar Chowdhury said ensuring good mental health involves good governance and leadership from the lowest to the highest level.

“Everyone must come forward to make everyone aware of this, from teenagers to young people.”

Quoting recent statistics, ACTIONISTS said 85 percent of people in low- and middle-income countries suffer from a variety of mental and neurological disorders, while about 92 percent are denied access to health care.

In addition, the Corona epidemic has created financial, social, and political inequalities around the world, with the rich gaining more and more wealth, and the poor falling below the poverty line.

As a result of this inequality, the mental health of the people has deteriorated even more.

Bangladesh has a nominal 0.44 percent of the total health budget allocation for mental health, which is set aside for most mental hospitals but is not implemented properly, said ACTIONISTS.

Source: United News of Bangladesh