Mental health support for acid and burn survivors

Why this is important 

Acid and burn violence is primarily a form of gender-based violence in South Asia. There are around 4,000 acid attack survivors in Bangladesh, and nearly two-third of them are women. Although acid attacks have reduced over the years due to more stringent legislation and punishments, an acid attack is life-changing for the survivors. 

Many survivors as well as having to live and deal with the physical impairments have emotional and mental struggles to recover from too. Physical disfigurment is often targeted at the victim's face and in many cases affects other parts of the body too. Survivors can struggle to integrate back into society. Severe depression, suicidal tendencies and social anxiety are common among survivors. Often shunned by society, getting a job, getting married, attending social functions and other rites of passage for Bangladeshi women can become struggles for survivors of acid-based violence. 

Emotional and mental health support is critical at almost every stage of their lives. The life-changing physical scars serve as a permanent reminder of the attack.

Our programme will provide comprehensive emotional and mental health support from professionals. The project helps to strengthen their mental health support through a community based approach.  

Project Partner(s): Acid Survivors Foundation

Duration: January 2024- August 2024

Project goals  

There is a huge gap/lack of professional mental health support in Bangladesh.

project aims to develop a new counselling module and provide counselling and psychotherapy services to nearly 250 acid survivors.

What we are doing

We are looking to support the acid attack survivors with the right form of mental health support, the Acid Survivors Foundation will design and implement two sets of interventions.

  • Developing a specialised training model focused on trauma counselling that will take into account biological, psychological and social factors for survivors. This model will initially train those in the head office and subsequently support para-counselors at the community level  
  • Extending counselling services to two districts with a high concentration of acid survivors and train para-counsellors from the community. These trained individuals, who themselves are acid survivors will offer emotional and mental support to fellow survivors of acid and burn violence.