Unfortunately, stigmatised attitudes towards people with mental health problems are still widespread and noticeable. It's Okay Bangladesh, a platform that provides mental support to distressed individuals, aims to eradicate such attitudes by creating an empathetic online community that would build a bridge between mental health experts and humans struggling with mental health problems.
Four young minds, Abdullah Hasan Safir, Wakila Hussain Moumi, Kamela Chowdhury Suparna, and Mohammad Abdul Majid, developed this idea in the Digital Khichuri Challenge 2016. It was a contest where different participants competed to develop innovative online campaigns to promote tolerance, peace, and diversity in Bangladesh.
It's Okay Bangladesh's website, launched in May 2017, allows visitors to sign up anonymously, share their own stories, and provide comfort to one another. Visitors can also find contact information of experts and counselors, relatable, encouraging stories of survivors of mental health illnesses, and informative mental-health related Bangla articles.
Recently, suicide, radicalisation, and drug addiction amongst students have harrowingly been on the rise. This suggests that neither families nor other social institutions provide adequate support to the youth. “Students need to see why they should not take such extreme steps and instead, be encouraged to share their inner struggles,” says Moumi, who is an internationally experienced counselor herself. “Families need to encourage children to identify their own unique qualities and deal with failures fearlessly,” Moumi further says. The website's “Write to Moumi” feature allows visitors to share their experiences and seek guidance and information from a counselor and her team.
On July 23, 2017, the day of HSC result publication, the founders arranged an event through which they provided phone numbers of experienced volunteers who were available to help out students in need of mental support. They received hundreds of phone calls during the event, and a remarkable response on social media. The event's main Facebook post was shared more than 3,80,000 times. It's Okay Bangladesh further hopes to connect with a bigger audience, develop broadcasts, and partner with many other counselors and psychologists to provide mental health services and sustainable solutions to cope with mental health issues.
If you would like to pay a visit to It's Okay Bangladesh's website, here is the address: http://itsokaybd.com