COX’S BAZAR: International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) organised a two-day conference on suicide prevention in the district, to raise awareness and build the capacity of mental health in Bangladesh.
In an overview of the present needs held by the population in Bangladesh, mental health and psychosocial support has been identified as critical. IOM’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) teams seeks to work with stakeholders and health practitioners to decrease the rate of student dropout which has been identified by Dhaka University as one of the main causes for suicide.The current pandemic has put an additional economic and social strain at both the individual and community levels. These challenges are exacerbated by beneficiaries’ limited access to education and livelihoods.
Even though the population is consistently showcasing efforts to improve their situation, a more focused response is required to meet the mental needs of those most vulnerable, particularly the elderly, persons with disabilities, women, children, youth, as well as survivors of violence.
Eight key studies were presented during the conference by distinguished academics and psychologists from Dhaka University, the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, the National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospital (NINS), Dhaka Shishu Hospital, the Suicide Prevention Sub-Group in Cox’s Bazar, and IOM’s MHPSS team.
“IOM is working hand in hand with academic institutions and mental health partners to look for appropriate and effective methods for early suicide prevention,” said IOM’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh Manuel Marques Pereira during the launch. “This can only be achieved by establishing proper referral mechanisms and building the capacity of those working in this sector.”
“This kind of conference will help us to improve our knowledge on mental health issues, which have reportedly been on the rise globally during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” said Teresa Tithi, a representative from the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs.
Following the two-day conference, IOM will work closely with all the stakeholders to compile the findings and recommendations and create a plan of action to present to the Director General of Health and the Director General of Family Planning in Dhaka.