Mental Health / Disability
British Asian Trust
Mental health issues affect 1 in 4 people over a lifetime - amounting to 450 million people across the world. Every year, as many as 800,000 people die as a result of suicide, and the overwhelming majority of these (78%) are in low and middle-income countries.
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, more than 50 million people are affected by mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, yet there are fewer than 400 psychiatrists and 500 psychologists and only five mental health hospitals in the whole country. 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.
Our local partners
Sri Lanka - disability
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.