Love Peace Harmony Foundation (LPH) is a global organisation working closely with various socio-economic issues. It believes in the power of meditation and harmony while connecting to people through the art of story-telling. Their recent event, Awaken the Compassionate Heart Bangladesh, was a webinar hosted by Venier Wong, Global Co-Director, LPH.
Throughout the course of the event, the panelists recalled their experiences of tackling mental health while emphasising on the need for more discussions around the topic. The panelists were noted musician Samir Obaid, popular comedian Farhana Muna, Richee Kamal, a student from the University of Toronto, Looksina Khan, lecturer at North South University and Nuzhat Rahman, counsellor at Dhaka University.
"Encouragement and support to address mental health issues work like magic and once you identify the toxicity, you are all prepared to step out of it," said Samir, after sharing his personal experiences during rehabilitation.
Due to the stigma associated with mental health, people often refuse treatment and avoid therapy sessions. Proper resources for help are not accessible to most patients in Bangladesh. Farhana has been using comedy as a way to connect to the masses. "Comedy worked as a great coping mechanism for me and when my first video went viral, I found it to be a good outlet for my psychological safety," she said.
"Trauma effects the body in different ways, and our mind tries to shut it down. It is never about one experience. It is always the collective system that keeps building up the problem. It is like standing in front of a hurricane that keeps wearing you down," added Venier.
In Bangladesh, numerous organisations are working for mental health, but they are mostly Dhaka-centric. "We need to train more people. Mental health is not promoted in the country widely," shared Nuzhat. She further highlighted the importance of reaching out to parents, and familiarising them with mental health issues.
Therapy is one of the best ways to cope with mental health issues. Throughout her study period at Toronto, Richee was introduced to an array of healing methods with a broader spectrum, involving emotions, trauma and the heart. "Connecting with LPH changed my life. I can indentify the difference in the way I feel and heal," she said.
The ongoing pandemic provides enough time to reflect on ourselves. "We should try to use this time to discover our suppressed feelings and unsolved issues," shared Looksina. The seminar ended with a Bangla song sung by Richee and a short meditation session.
This event marked the first chapter of LPH's activities in Bangladesh and the organisation is looking forward to more insightful sessions to contribute to discussions on mental and emotional health.