Current Project

We seek to build confidant women. We want to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Though our priority is to work with disadvantageous women in high-risk, underserved areas, we aim to work with any woman who needs us.

In this journey, What is on your mind is our first project.

What is on your mind?

A Mental Health Awareness Program for adolescent girls of Bangladesh

Let’s go back to Sathi’s story. Mental health is very important for wellbeing. It is not only your mind. It’s about hormones, your neuro system, and your body too. Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. A person’s mental health is affected by individual factors and experiences, social interaction, societal structures, resources and cultural values. It is influenced by: experiences in everyday life, in families and schools, on streets and at work. If mental health issues are not addressed in the right time, girls can commit suicide. Like Sathi.

Our first project, “What’s on your mind?”,  is to create mental health awareness among the adolescent girls in Bangladesh.

It aims to ensure that all schools have counselling support for adolescents (12-16 years) at the end of the project period.

It will engage one section of the youth i.e. university students, to sensitize them and build their capacity in communication skills supportive psychosocial counselling and needs assessment so that they may cater to another section of the youth i.e. high school children to help identify their own mental health condition and raise their sensitivity to the needs of peers who may be suffering from mental illnesses. Teachers and parents will also be addressed and given tools to pave a better pathway to achieve sound emotional intelligence.

Goals

  • To identify and dismantle the attitudinal and environmental barriers to seeking mental health problems by adolescent girls at schools
  • To create a system of assessing psychosocial support for school-going adolescents with mental health needs based on a rigorous needs assessment
  • To develop an adolescent friendly toolkit on emotional hygiene and mental health that schools and guardians can adopt
  • To ensure that all schools have counselling support for adolescents aged 12-16 years at the end of the project period

Target groups

  • 1000 adolescent girls aged 12-16 years in 4 schools
  • Their parents
  • School administration
  • Teachers

Eventually we aim to spread this programme in other schools of the country.


Progress reports

Promoting School Mental Health Awareness Workshops in Bangladesh, 2017-18

Implemented by: Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation

 

 

 

Promoting School Mental Health Awareness Workshops in Bangladesh, 2018-19

Implemented by: Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation

Introduction:

According to World Health Organisation, 50% of mental health issues are established by age of 14 and 75% by age of 24. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15 -29. Ten percent of primary school children suffer from a low sense of wellbeing.

According to Unesco, 23% of school students in Bangladesh are becoming victims of bullying.Unesco reported that, victims of bullying are nearly twice as likely to feel isolated, be unable to sleep at night, and contemplate suicide. It can also affect how well a child is able to concentrate on their studies, cause increased absenteeism or even lead to them dropping out of school. As a result, it is crucial for school authorities to ensure that children are able to attend and enjoy school, without the threat of harassment.

According to 2009 National survey, 18% children in Bangladesh have diagnosable mental illness.

But despite how common it is, help for mental ill health are hard to access. Lack of mental health literacy, skilled human resources, professional services and stigma can prevent children and young people from accessing mental health services they may need for their recovery and reintegration.

In addition to mental health concerns, drug related problems are gradually becoming a keyconcern in Bangladesh from a social, economic and, more importantly, health perspective.

Unfortunately, our schools are not doing enough to ensure a secure environment for their students, as evident from the large percentage of students that are reportedly being bullied. And in some cases, teachers and school staff themselves have been guilty of mistreating students. When the adults fail to realise what kind of impact this may have on young impressionable minds, then we have a serious problem on our hands.

With the support of SiTara’s Story, Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation is promoting mental health awareness in schools in Bangladesh specially focusing girls from rural Bangladesh can flourish their full potential in a safe, just and enabling environment.

Detail of the programs:

This report cover the second phase of the collaboration covering the period from July to August 2019.

Following table shows the districts and schools covered in this period:

 

District Upazila School
Comilla: Sadar 1. Bibir Bazar High School

2. Choara Girls High School

3. Durlavpoor Model High School

4. Roghupur Islamia Dakhil Madrasa

5. Roghupur Shahid Manik High School

6. Dholeshshar High School

7. Hashmatunnesa High School

8. Comilla Housing State School & Collage

9.Bakhrabad Gas Adorsho High School

10. Italla Islamia Madrasa

 

Shirajganj Shahzadpur 1. Koijuri High School & Collage

2. Koijuri Secondary School

3. Koijuri M I Fazil Madrasa

4. Shahjadpur Ibrahim Pilot Girls High School

5. Shripholtola  J S Girls High School

6. Thutia High School & Collage

7. Syedpur High School

8. Jamirta High SChool

9. Porjona M N High School

10. Char Koijuri School & Collage

 

 

Conclusion:

Mental health problems are common in high school students given that half of the mental illness start at the age of 14. However, parents and teachers are not well informed about how to recognize mental health problems of the adolescents, how to provide support and what are the best treatments and services available. In mental health crises, such as a student feeling suicidal, deliberately harming themselves, having a panic attack, being acutely psychotic, a parent or teacher with appropriate mental health first aid skills can reduce the risk of the person coming to harm. A trained Mental Health First Aider in their social network can assist the affected student to get appropriate help. Positive Parenting skills will help parent to act as a role model for their children. They will be able to better understand the difficulties that their children may go through and become confident to provide right emotional support at the right time.

Ultimately, we need a substantial shift in our mindsets about the importance of children and their feelings. Children are more likely to thrive when we nurture their humanity, and offer them language and strategies and values to help them identify, express, and, thus, regulate their feelings. When parents, teachers, and students gain new awareness into the complex roots of mental health issues and adopt new strategies for addressing it, schools can lead the way.