Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation (IWF) is the sole license holder from Mental Health First Aid Australia for the development and implementation of 2-day Standard MHFA course and 2-day Youth MHFA Course in Bangladesh. With the generous support of MHFA England, IWF have developed the National Trainer Team (NTT) and officially launched MHFA Bangladesh chapter on 9th April 2015
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the initial help offered to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The MHFA course is a 12 hours’ evidence-based course which teaches members of the general public to provide first aid assistance until the crisis resolves or the individual receives professional help. While the MHFA program does not teach people to provide a diagnosis or treat mental health conditions, it has been established as an effective tool in improving mental health literacy, reducing stigma and increasing helping behaviors. MHFA program is currently being implemented in 25 countries including Bangladesh. Presently more than two million Mental Health First Aiders trained globally.
Mental Health First Aid is a global innovative program that was inspired by the successful physical first aid model. Developed in Australia in 2000, it is regularly updated to ensure that is drawing upon the latest evidence base. The program is available in over 25 countries including Bangladesh.
MHFA courses are based on the expert consensus, of people with lived experience of mental health problems and professionals, on what support a mental health first aider should provide. MHFA Australia has worked in partnership with researchers at the University of Melbourne, to develop guidelines for action that cover a number of mental health problems and crises.
The MHFA Program has been recognized with a number of Australian and international awards, including the MHS Medal. It has been recognized in the UK as an example of radical efficiency and has been listed in the USA by SAMSHA on their National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
“I have worked for over 20 years to create change and a fairer society for people who are experiencing mental health difficulties. My drive for this change comes from my own lived experience of depression. Everyone has mental health and everyone can nurture their mental health so that we all have the opportunity to flourish and live a fulfilling life. Our mental wellbeing is determined by many factors including healthy relationships, having meaning and purpose, being active, having a healthy diet, our faith, our financial health, our home and the community we live in. Bangladesh and its rich culture have all the ingredients needed to create a society that is fair, just and safe for all. Education is the single most important factor for social change and that’s why I founded MHFA in Bangladesh. An estimated 16.8% adult and 13.6% children (aged 7-17) people are experiencing poor mental health at any one time in our country. Yet we only have 1 professional service per 200,000 population that people can easily access. The stigma is high and we still use shackles in our health system. All of this has to change and all parts of society have to work together to make that change. MHFA training will educate anyone anywhere to spot early signs and provide support at home, in schools, in community. everyone can learn to listen and listening well is often the only intervention required to stop someone’s distress. My hope for the mental health system in Bangladesh is that everyone will have a chance to be well, that hospital care will adopt the recovery model, that we will treat people experiencing mental illness with respect and protect their dignity. I hope for a time where no one will feel shame for being unwell.
Thank you to Monira and the team for leading this change in my home country."
Poppy Jaman, OBE
City Mental Health Alliance, UK
“I have been working alongside colleagues from MHFA Bangladesh for over 5 years. Over that time, I have been profoundly impressed by the development of course content, learning materials and ability to work in a range of settings across the country. Most of all, however, I am continually amazed by the quality, passion and flexibility of the facilitators who deliver the programme and are transforming attitudes to, and understanding of mental health. “
National Trainer, MHFA England
“Within the United Kingdom we beat ourselves up about long waiting times for mental health services but, going back to 2014, the level of any provision or awareness within Bangladesh at all was practically nil. This, as Monira Rahman noted at the time, represented a lack of basic human rights; I could only agree to act as an Advisor to the Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation (IWF).
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the team that launched Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Bangladesh in 2015, thus enabling the country to train up their own instructors in spreading mental health and wellbeing awareness, and thus countering the stigma associated with mental illness, throughout the country.
The most recent research survey by the National Institute of Mental Health and Research (NIMH&R), under the technical guidance of the World Health Organisation, in 2019, again demonstrates the need for much more to be done. The headlines of this survey showed that 16.8% of Bangladesh adults are experiencing the symptoms of common mental health disorders, such as depressive and anxiety disorders, yet 92.3% of these people had not sought medical assistance. As a psychologist, I find this very sad; most mental health disorders can be treated successfully, in much the same way as most physical disorders.
IWF and MHFA Bangladesh will continue to be at the forefront of my thinking and will always have my support in driving forward the provision of mental health services."
Dr Richard Castle
PhD MDA AFBPsS C.Psychol, UK