Strengthening mental health services in Cox’s Bazar

WHO Bangladesh/ C. Bercaru

Over 20 primary health care workers in Cox’s Bazar, including physicians, clinical psychologists and counsellors from government facilities and nongovernment organizations are attending training on the assessment and management of priority mental disorders through the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme – mhGAP.

The three day training from 21 to 23 November is being organized by the Directorate General of Health Services, in collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health and supported by World Health Organization.

Within the present humanitarian crisis, there is an immense and urgent need to provide mental health and psychosocial support for the host and Rohingya refugee communities. Strengthening mental health service provision is an essential part of the emergency response. A psychiatrist has recently been posted to the district hospital in Cox’s Bazar alongside psychologists. By training primary health care workers on the assessment and management of priority mental disorders, the majority of mental health conditions can be treated in non-specialized health settings. The present training covers depression, acute stress, and post traumatic disorder.

WHO Bangladesh/ Tara Kessaram

The WHO mhGAP aims to scale up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders especially in low and middle income countries. Even where resources are scarce, with quality care, psychosocial assistance and medication, people with common mental disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and epilepsy can lead normal lives.

The training will be followed by a supervision visit to the participants to provide onsite support for applying the skills and knowledge gained through mhGAP.

WHO remains committed to support the Government of Bangladesh and the partner agencies in addressing the health challenges determined by the recent influx of Rohingya population.