Mental Health / Disability
British Asian Trust
Mental health issues affect 450 million people globally, including 90 million in South Asia, but there is only 1 psychiatrist for every 350,000 people in the region.
Mental health is a critically under-resourced and neglected public health issue in South Asia. Moreover, a lack of public awareness leaves superstitions and fears unchallenged, and people unsupported.
In Pakistan, 1 in 5 families are affected by mental health problems, while 1 in 10 families live with someone who needs psychiatric help. But almost 90% of the population has no access to any kind of treatment, let alone effective and affordable services.
In Sri Lanka, there are six million disabled people; 140,000 of these are young people and children.
Again, a critical lack of health services and severe social stigma impedes treatment and recovery, leaving millions of people trapped in a cycle of illness, poverty and isolation.
We have always recognised that lifting the silence on mental health issues and educating communities is paramount to the successful reintegration of sufferers back into their lives.
Shama's Journey: From Diagnosis to Wellness
Abida's Journey: Overcoming Severe Depression
I took some medicine to try and kill myself. I thought if I’m not around then my problem would go away.
Abida, recovering from a mental health break down
We will continue to support major community mental health programmes in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka and significantly grow our work around disability is Sri Lanka.
We are building strong partnerships with diverse organisations working with disabled people in Sri Lanka and focus on the key areas of education, livelihoods and health, with an emphasis of social inclusion underpinning all of this activity.
We recognise the need to strengthen advocacy and awareness to improve the rights of disabled people and will work tirelessly to promote the inclusion of disabled people to ensure that they have equal opportunities and access to services, resources and rights.