First project goes live in Bangladesh
15th October 2020
Beyond Conflict, the mental health charity for conflict zones, and Global Development Consortium (GDC) announce today a pilot project to deliver mental health support to NGO workers and refugees in Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp, Bangladesh.
After signing an MOU earlier this month, work begins in Bangladesh under the leadership of GDC’s lead psychiatric consultant Dr Abul Hussain Mohammad Saleh and Director Mr M Golam Abbas.
Cox’s Bazaar, the world’s largest refugee camp, is home to 1.2 million Rohingya refugees, the majority of whom arrived from Myanmar after fleeing persecution. These are people who have lost their loved ones, homes, jobs and country. This remains one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history and the mental health impact has been enormous. Covid 19 has served to worsen mental health problems and there is an urgent need for more help.
In light of the pandemic, BC and GDC are committed to operating in a Covid-safe environment. The pilot will deliver:
*Online seminars offering mental health support from psychological experts to frontline workers from 7 NGO’s in Cox’s Bazaar.
*A telephone support hotline
*A referral pathway to help refugees access existing mental health help from approved psychiatrists in the camp.
Beyond Conflict and GDC are working to ensure training and support is delivered safely during the pandemic, through online training, PPE, social distancing and telephone support.
BC Chairman Ed Newell said: “I am thrilled Beyond Conflict is now operational. Caring for the carers is vital to ensure the needs of refugees continue to be met. This project will hopefully provide a template, allowing us to be effective in a Covid environment in other places of humanitarian crisis around the world.”
BC Co-Founder Edna Fernandes said: “We are delighted to be working with GDC. The Rohingya crisis is one of the gravest in modern history, with children among the worst affected. The pandemic has made that crisis more acute and the psychological burden on NGO workers and refugees increases with each day. This project aims to alleviate some of that pressure.”
GDC’s Dr Saleh said: “Globally, 1 in 10 live with a mental health disorder. These are serious, life-threatening diseases that compromise people’s quality of life and physical and social well-being. BC and GDC have teamed up for the traumatised Rohingya refugee community to rebuild their mental health and psycho-social connection with self and the wider community.”
Mr Abbas said: “10 October was Global Mental Health day. This year’s theme is Mental Health for All. Mental health support should be a basic right, not a luxury. We must leave no one behind. Let’s change the attitude on mental health. Equipping NGO frontline workers will enhance their ability to help others.”
Beyond Conflict is the British-registered mental health charity for post-conflict zones. Our mission is to tackle the psychological suffering of victims of war, terrorism and displacement. GDC’s Director M Golam Abbas is a former UNHCR Country Representative in several countries including Bangladesh. Mr Abbas worked across the world for the UNHCR over several decades before retiring to set up GDC. Dr Mohammad Saleh is a senior British Bangladeshi psychiatrist and regional expert in online trauma counselling and training who spent 30 years working for the UK NHS before moving to Cox’s Bazaar to help with the crisis.
Registered Charity Number: 1176499