Speakers at a webinar have stressed the need for raising people’s awareness about mental health and increasing allocation for it in the national budget. The ACTIONISTS organized the webinar on the occasion of World Mental Health Day. Psychologist Mehtab Khanam said inequality is increasing day by day and economic inequality in particular is becoming more obvious having impact on mental health. Read:Protecting Your Child’s Mental Health: 10 Tips for Parents "And there is a deep connection between this inequality and mental health. Having good mental health means that a person does not stumble in life," said the Professor at the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, Dhaka University. It is imperative to increase the allocation for mental health in the national budget, said Mehtab Khanam. Sabina Fayez Rashid, Professor, Dean of James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University; Samanjar Chowdhury, Operations Lead of BRAC Youth Platform, BRAC, Fairuz Faiza Bithar, Co-Founder of Moner School and founder of ACTIONISTS A.N.M Fakhrul Amin Forhad also spoke at the webinar conducted by Sharin Shahjahan Naomi, Assistant Professor, Asian University for Women. Professor Sabina Fayez Rashid said policies and interventions are needed because mental health issues are still neglected. "Different communities, young people, government, NGOs and many such organizations are working but there should be more and more discussions on this issue," she said. Fairooz Faizah Bitheer said mental health awareness should start at an early age. "Policy makers need to raise their voices on this issue as well. Mental health should not be neglected but should be seen as a priority." Samanjar Chowdhury said ensuring good mental health involves good governance and leadership from the lowest to the highest level. "Everyone must come forward to make everyone aware of this, from teenagers to young people." Read:World Mental Health Day: What effect does depression have on the performance of athletes? Quoting recent statistics, ACTIONISTS said 85 percent of people in low- and middle-income countries suffer from a variety of mental and neurological disorders, while about 92 percent are denied access to health care. In addition, the Corona epidemic has created financial, social, and political inequalities around the world, with the rich gaining more and more wealth, and the poor falling below the poverty line. As a result of this inequality, the mental health of the people has deteriorated even more. Bangladesh has a nominal 0.44 percent of the total health budget allocation for mental health, which is set aside for most mental hospitals but is not implemented properly, said ACTIONISTS.
Despite lots of laws and campaign, people's perceptions on sexual harassment are still wrong in our country and a huge part of our total population is ignorant of its laws, leading to an increase in gender based violence. About 84% of women in Bangladesh are constantly being sexually harassed on the road, in vehicles, in educational institutions, at work, and even at home. In this context and the occasion of 'Sexual Harassment Awareness Month' - ACTIONISTS organized its 17th episode of the “Dialogue for Action” series on 29th April, 2021. The topic of this webinar was "Prevention of Sexual Harassment in Bangladesh: Socio-legal Perspectives". The invited speakers were respectively SK Jenefa K Jabbar, Director of Human Rights and Legal Aid Services (HRLS), Social Compliance and Safeguarding at BRAC; Taslima Yasmin, Associate Professor at Department of Law, University of Dhaka and Najmul Islam, ADC of Cyber Crime Investigation Division, CTTC, DMP. The program was hosted by Mohammad Golam Sarwar, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Dhaka and Coordinated by A.N.M. Fakhrul Amin Forhad, Founder of ACTIONISTS. Also read: Most sexual harassment through technology perpetrated by close ones According to the Supreme Court's 2009 definition of "sexual harassment", unwanted sexually explicit behavior (directly or in gestures), displaying pornography, sexually explicit comments or gestures, indecent gestures, sexual harassment or comments, stalking or stalking someone. Going and mocking or ridiculing using sexually suggestive language will also fall into sexual harassment. Jenefa Jabbar says, “It is difficult to find a number of ladies in our country who have not been sexually harassed in her lifetime. Most cases, harassment and abuses begins at home, family by any family member or relatives. Abuse can happen anywhere, also in online platforms. Malicious activities in social media has increased.” Taslima Yasmin speaks about laws regarding this sexual abuse issue,mentioning. “ though there are laws about women and gender violence in our country, the term of sexual harassment is sitll vague. There is a prominent discrimination in labour sector with women, but labour laws could not reflect enough concern about this issue of sexual abuse. And while the making and implementing policies the terms and conditions of the victim society should be brought in spotlight.” Also read: Moral, sex education needed to prevent sexual harassment: Speakers ADC Nazmul says, “I receive around 15-20 complains of sexual abuse every day, and most of them are cyber crimes. Every social media user needs to be conscious about this risk. You must not click on any fishy link, or any unauthentic website. We all need to know the privacy policies of the app we use and use two-factor authentication system. If anyone faces such problem, they must not delay in informing the legal cell.” ACTIONISTS is a youth-based organization that has long been involved in raising awareness through social media through the Action for Dialogue series. In addition to social awareness, various activities to establish the rights of disadvantaged people, they also provide free online mental health services.
Speakers at a webinar have laid emphasis on changing the mentality in the society to keep women safe saying it is difficult to change the social situation only by laws and acts.
Speakers at a webinar have said there is a complex relationship between sleep and mental state; and in many cases, insomnia is responsible for various types of mental illness.
A virtual discussion programme was held Saturday night over mental health complications of students pursuing higher education and research abroad.