“The biggest obstacle to the treatment and prevention of mental illness in Bangladesh is people’s misconceptions about it.” Today, in the opening ceremony of the 6th Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Conference at the Senate Building of Dhaka University, the Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University, Prof. Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman said this. He also said – the connection between body and mind is complementary to each other. One cannot be thought of without the other. If there is a disease in the body, medicine is needed, and if there is a disease in the mind, it also needs treatment. He congratulated everyone on the advancement of the Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Department in the last 25 years. Also, he praised the important role played by the Clinical Psychology Department and Clinical Psychology Society in mental health services in the country. He emphasized producing trained psychologists. Moreover, he mentioned the very important initiative of the Honorable Prime Minister, Community Health Services, and emphasized on adding mental health services to community health services, as well as drawing the attention of everyone to meet the demand for mental health services by creating trained psychologists.
On 22 September 2023 inaugurated 6th Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Conference at the Senate Building of the University of Dhaka. The conference theme is “Community-Based Mental Health: The Key to Bridging the Mental Health Service Gap in Bangladesh”.
General Secretary of the Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society (BCPS), Dr. Shahnur Hossain presented the keynote speech of the program. He said the theme emphasizes the provision of mental health services at the community level in the country with the aim of creating more awareness about mental health among people. He said – The 2018-19 survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health of Bangladesh showed that 92% of people in Bangladesh do not receive any treatment for mental illness and 18.7% of adults and 12.6% of children and adolescents suffer from mental health problems. 6.7% of adults suffer from depression and 4.7% from anxiety disorders. He highlighted the inadequacy of mental health care professionals needed to ensure mental health services to the country’s population, saying that there are about 1,000 psychologists in the country which is not enough to provide adequate mental health care. It takes many years to develop a psychologist as a professional, so he highlighted the issue of creating trained professionals with training to work at the community level.
In the inauguration program as Special guests were Dr. Md. Robed Amin, Line Director of the Non-Communicable Disease Control Program of the Department of Health, Prof. Dr. Md. Mahbub Hasan, Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Dhaka University, and Dr. Graham Powell, former president of the British Psychological Society. The program was presided over by Dr. Muhammad Kamruzzaman Mazumdar, President of the Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society (BCPS).
In the speech of the special guest, Professor Dr. Md. Mahbub Hasan, Dean of the Faculty of Biology of Dhaka University, said that mental problems are related to human heredity. Many brain chemicals play a role in our thinking and emotional problems. The state of mind affects the body and they are associated with food. Therefore, he called on people to take mental health services as he should not give importance to the diseases of the body only excluding the mind.
Former President of the British Psychological Society, Dr. Graham Powell, as a special guest speaker, felt proud to be part of the long journey of the Department of Clinical Psychology in Bangladesh and felt that there is a huge scope for work at the community level in mental health services in Bangladesh.
President of Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society (BCPS) Prof. Dr. Muhammad Kamruzzaman Majumder said in the presidential speech that this year’s conference is being held with the theme “Community Based Mental Health: The Key to Bridging the Gap in Mental Health Services in Bangladesh” with the aim of increasing awareness about mental health among people and emphasizing the importance of providing mental health services at the community level in the country. He also said that the Department of Clinical Psychology is working to produce teachers, researchers, and professional mental health providers. He spoke about the support of the Honorable Vice Chancellor of the University in mental health services and its activities. He emphasized increasing the government’s cooperation in getting mental health services among common people by reducing the cost of mental health services in the country.
It is noted that various workshops, plenary sessions, and symposiums on mental health are being held on the occasion of the celebration of the conference. Besides, several domestic and foreign research papers are being presented. The conference is jointly organized by the Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society and Dhaka University Clinical Psychology Department.
With the aim of increasing mental health awareness, the Department of Clinical Psychology of University of Dhaka and the Bangladesh Clinical Psychology Society have been working continuously since 1997 to raise awareness about mental health and also to raise awareness among people about mental health and to present various research information on this topic to the people of Bangladesh since 2006 the Clinical Psychology Society has been organizing conferences on mental health.