Bangladesh National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Chairperson Saima Wazed Hossain on Sunday said mental health services are essential to achieve SDGs, and such ailments should be treated with care.
She was addressing a webinar titled "A day centre for people with mental health needs: A model care of Bangladesh", organised by Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), on occasion of World Mental Health Day.
This year's theme was investment in mental health.
Saima appreciated CRP's contribution in the rehabilitation sector and pointed out the importance of mental health services. She asked for everyone's collaboration, not competition, and said there are no social and political barriers in this field.
Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed, associate professor at National Institute of Mental Health; Karen Heaslip, occupational therapist from Ireland; and Razia Sultana, project coordinator of Occupational Therapy Day Centre for People with Mental Health Needs of CRP, presented keynote papers.
In his presentation, Dr Helal showed the current scenario of mental health in Bangladesh, while Karen presented a brief overview of mental health in communities based in the UK and Ireland.
Razia described the activities and improvement of patients at the day centre through a video documentary and concluded by saying that CRP is trying from its position, and if they could enhance services at community-level with the government's help, there would be more positive outcomes.
The webinar was chaired by Valerie Ann Taylor, founder and coordinator of CRP, where Saima was the chief guest.
Speaking at the webinar, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative Dr Bardan Jung Rana said Covid-19 has disrupted essential health services, including mental health, and WHO is now working on mental health services at primary level.
Dr Md Golam Rabbani, chairperson of Neuro-Developmental Disability Trust, and Rita Bonomally, programme manager of Southeast Asia, Kadoorie Charitable Foundation, Hong Kong, also addressed the programme as special guests.
CRP has been working on mental health since 2014, providing occupational therapy for several mental hospitals of Bangladesh.