In 2012, Bangladesh Mental Health Network (BMHN), country’s only common platform for all stakeholders started its journey in an informal way. In 2014, BMHN took the leadership for reviewing the Lunacy Act 1912 and advocated for the Modern Mental Health Act which was finally enacted in 2018.
In 2015, BMHN was registered as a Trust. The founding Members of the BMHN are:
President : Dr. Shaheen Islam, Professor, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, University of Dhaka
Managing Trustee : Monira Rahman, Founder and Executive Director, Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation
General Members :
Prof Dr. Faruq Alam, former Director of the National Mental Health Institute
Shakir Khondoker, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Dr. Nasima Selim, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer (Wiss. Mitarbeiterin), Institut of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr.Nafisa Huq, Senior Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, School of Public Health IUB and Managing Director, Monon Psychiatric Hospital
Badrul Mannan, Founder, Welfare Society for Mental Health and Rehabilitation
The global coronavirus outbreak is putting the physical as well as mental health of people around the world under strain. For people whose lives are restricted by self-isolation or social distancing, as well as fears about the virus itself or about shortages of essential supplies and worries about money, the emotional and psychological effects can be overwhelming.
For people already living with mental health difficulties, the added pressures of the current situation, combined with limits to the capacity of health and care services to provide ongoing support, may have profound short- and long -term impacts.
Women’s and girls’ role in the household, as primary caregivers of children, elderly and sick household members, puts them at higher risk of contracting the virus. Their time burden is likely going to increase significantly as their care work for family members, as well as their cleaning, washing and water collecting responsibilities become greater.
In this context, BMHN is now a major asset to health services to help them to achieve a holistic and comprehensive response in the most demanding circumstances most of us have faced in our lifetimes.
The current COVID19 pandemic is an important reminder that mental health organizations from all sectors have more in common than apart. Where organizations have strong, trusting relationships, with mutual respect among staff and volunteers, working in new ways at speed is much easier.
Sharing risks and resources fairly is never straightforward, but by combining leadership and problem-solving together, organizations are already showing that they can create a more coordinated local response to growing levels of need at a time of unprecedented pressure on resources.
Bangladesh mental Health Network is already acting promptly and collectively during coronavirus pandemic for better resource utilization and effective strategies to meet the current needs of the country.
Following 18 organizations as a member of the BMHN are advocating for national strategy for mental health for combating nCOVID19 pandemic.