Half of women with mental health issues are students
According to a survey, a large majority of women seeking advice for different mental health issues are students.
The survey indicates that about 50.21% of the respondents are students, followed by 21.7% service holders and 11.91% housewives.
The proportion is 2.55% for teachers, 2.13% each for entrepreneurs and doctors, and 0.43% for journalists, reports the survey conducted by Moner Bondhu, a platform offering care for good. – to be psychological.
The survey was conducted among 15,235 women who received services from the platform between July 2021 and February 2022. Moner Bondhu said women or girls mainly use the online counseling service while most of among them (28.93%) are between 21 and 25 years old and mostly from Dhaka.
The organization conducted another survey in 2020 – “Psychosocial support in the Covid-19 crisis for building resilient communities” – which was funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and found that 54.2% of their clients were women, 45.9% were men, 76.52% were young people and 55.3% were students.
Throughout the year, they received 14,130 calls from 55 districts in Bangladesh and abroad. Additionally, they conducted 1,171 psychosocial counseling sessions, with 651 women and 520 men coming for comprehensive counselling. Among them, about 82% come from urban areas.
Reason for advice
Moner Bondhu reported that 32% of them take counseling because of their relationship problems, 14% for anxiety and 15% for depression. On the other hand, 7% of women used this service to overcome suicidal thoughts, 4% to combat domestic violence and 2% to treat physical illnesses, insomnia and trauma.
In 2020, however, the situation was different. According to the survey, 92% of the cases were related to Covid-19 anxiety, panic and stress. A total of 73.6% of clients suffered from depression and others suffered from relationship crisis with their partners, trouble sleeping, poor anger management, uncertainty about jobs and academic performance.
Additionally, 77.02% of their clients used their online service, while only 22.98% used in-person counseling in their most recent survey.
The 20-29 age group received the most psychological counseling (76.52%), with the majority being students.
“Girl students are largely receiving online counseling from us because educational institutions have been closed for a long time due to Covid-19,” said Kazi Rumana Haque, chief psychologist at Moner Bondhu.
“We have seen many cases where students from public universities were more depressed than students from private universities who continued their classes online and did not face any type of session blockages. Apart from this, families and Societies were putting a lot of pressure on young women to get married during this time and as a result they didn’t know what to do,” she continued.
“Boys or men have many opportunities to express their difficulties, but women in our society do not have this pleasant and trustworthy environment,” said Iqbal Hossain, a psychosocial counselor.
Stigma towards mental illness
In our society, there are many misconceptions, as well as a lack of awareness and understanding regarding mental illnesses.
Stigma towards psychological disorders can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, but it’s nice that people are taking advice gradually, said Dr Md Tazul Islam, professor of community and social psychiatry at the National Institute of mental and hospital health (NIMH).
“However, women suffer from more psychological problems than men, not only in Bangladesh but all over the world, as they have to face additional responsibilities,” he added.
“However, students between the ages of 12 and 25 have the most psychological problems because they experience many hormonal changes throughout this period. Therefore, our parents must be more aware so that our children do not need to visit a doctor to fill any type of gap,” he continued.
“In 2015, my mother was suffering from severe depression, and at the time, I didn’t know where to start,” said CEO and Founder of Moner Bondhu, Tawhida Shiropa. “Later, I developed Moner Bondhu as a result of this experience, so that others would not suffer the same way I did.”