Worried about Mental Health? Take a look at the Solutions in Bangladesh

LightCastle Analytics Wing
April 8, 2021
Worried about Mental Health? Take a look at the Solutions in Bangladesh

About 22.5 million people in Bangladesh are suffering from about 13 types of mental disorders, in a government survey conducted in 2019. Besides the adult population, 13.6% of children aged between 7 and 17 were also found to be suffering from mental disorders. More alarmingly, the survey found that 92.3% of adult and 94.5% of child respondents diagnosed with different mental disorders do not receive any treatment. Although Bangladesh has been identified as a country with a vulnerable record in the mental health care sector by the international community, it spends only 0.44% of the national health budget in this sector and has 0.073 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. [1] So, there is a critical need to cater to the mental health needs of Bangladesh, and thus, it is also essential to look at the current offerings in the mental health sector of Bangladesh. 

The Traditional Mental Health Services in Bangladesh

National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka

Traditional services have proven inadequate and have gradually been replaced or supplemented by online services that can provide emergency solutions. Some of the traditional services offered are as follows:

InstitutionMode of operationServices
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)OfflineCounseling (individual + Group)
Child Development Center (CDC)OfflineCounseling (individual + Group)
Psycho-social Counseling Unit Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)Online & offlineCounseling (individual + Group) 
Psychological Service Center, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, DUOffline and onlineIndividual  And Couple Counseling
Nasirullah Psychotherapy Unit (NPU) Department of Clinical Psychology, DUOfflineIndividual, Couple, Family, Group, and Child Counseling
Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation (BPF)OfflineIndividual, Couple, and Family Counseling
Figure: Existing Mental Health Platforms and their Services/ Source:[2]

New Generation of Mental Health Services Making their Mark

LifeSpring – Redefining Healthcare

The statistics regarding treatment gaps in mental health make it clear that current services are often inadequate and lack the necessary resources to tackle problems around the clock. Therefore, private organizations and startups have made significant entries into the mental health scenario. Some of the noticeable ones are:


LifeSpring currently has more than 200 mental health professionals working with them and aims to integrate psychological care into all aspects of society. [3] It offers both online and offline services to its clients. The company has recently started to gain attention through social media engagement. Their services include:

  1. Psychological Counseling
  2. Corporate Service
  3. Student Support
  4. Child Development
  5. Online Counseling
  6. Online Psychoeducation etc.

Moner Bondhu

Moner Bondhu aims to make mental healthcare affordable and accessible through online and offline sessions. Since 2016, Moner Bondhu has been tirelessly working for mental health and psycho-social awareness in Bangladesh in six different areas.

  • Providing professional psychosocial counseling support via 24/7 helpline number, online and offline
  • Organizing group sessions, workshops, and training, including corporate and soft skill training, using both online and traditional platforms. 
  • Developing toolkits, knowledge products, courses, and training modules for individuals and groups
  • Hosting ‘Amar Moner Kotha,’ a weekly radio program on ColoursFM 101.6
  • Broadcasting a television show to talk about psychosocial issues openly
  • Advocating for psychosocial services with narratives, awareness-based content, animations, leaflets, stickers, videos, etc.

Additionally, Moner Bondhu provides customized psycho-social mental health support and well-being services to many organizations, corporate offices, financial institutions, and educational institutes (schools, both Bengali and English medium, colleges, and universities). 

Moner Bondhu works for all socioeconomic backgrounds, and by building an extensive support network, it has been able to access even the remote areas of the country. However, as the price is an essential consideration for most people, Moner Bondhu partners up with different organizations to reduce costs and share resources, and make mental healthcare accessible for all. They set an example by becoming the first mental health partner of BGMEA. Subsequently, they developed the country’s first mental well-being center for RMG workers. 

Want to learn more about Management Consulting?

See Our Service

Moreover, their development toolkits include baseline surveys and other tools used in different schools in Dhaka in collaboration with USAID. Moner Bondhu developed the first-ever 40-hour-long online courses in Bangla on behavioral skills and psycho-social issues, consisting of 45 modules. 

During the COVID-19 crisis, they reached 30 lakh people through their online services. As a result, Moner Bondhu is exceptionally versatile and has cemented its place in the mental health service sector of Bangladesh.

Sajida Foundation and Psychological Health and Wellness Clinic – PHWC

SAJIDA Foundation began in 1987 as a small garage school for disadvantaged children and has grown to be an inclusive social organization that offers healthcare services and other social services for more than 6 million people.

The Psychological Health and Wellness Clinic (PHWC) was established in 2017 in partnership with SAJIDA Foundation. It has become a renowned name in the mental health arena with a wide offering of services. It has multiple benefits that are designed to cater to all demographics. Besides general mental health facilities, it also provides corporate wellness services such as:

  1. Employee Assistance Program
  2. Corporate Seminars
  3. Group Counselling
  4. Crisis Intervention 

PHWC also provides training to professionals and non-professionals. Some of these training modules are:

  1. Mental Health First Aid
  2. Para-Counselling
  3. Basic Mental Health Skills etc.

Besides these set training modules, PHWC also provides custom modules.

Moner Daktar

Moner Daktar is a concern of Telepsychiatry Research and Innovation Network Ltd. It offers services through its vast network of healthcare professionals. They have three main offerings:

  1. Psychiatric Consultation
  2. Psychotherapy and Counselling
  3. Mental Health Assessments

The assessment has been specially designed for Bangladesh, keeping all cultural and language factors in mind.

Psycure Organization

Psycure provides counseling on suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, and career solutions and has been growing fast in the past few years. Having connected with around 25000 people, psycure is trying to fight the stigma against mental health through different awareness campaigns as well. 

Figure: Comparative of the different players in the Mental Health Service Industry of Bangladesh

Current Obstacles to improving mental health services

Mental Health constitutes a major public health challenge, undermining social and economic development throughout much of the developing world. In Bangladesh, mental health remains ignored as only 0.44% of the total health budget is allocated towards mental health. [4]

  1. Financial Burden

With 65% of the pocket spending on healthcare, mental health services become burdensome for people from the lower-income segments as mental health services are already more expensive. [4] 

  1. Lack of Personnel

Bangladesh suffers from a lack of personnel in the healthcare sector. There are only 3.05 physicians and 1.07 nurses per 10,000 people in the country. [5] Most of these professionals are focused on urban areas. The situation is even worse in the mental health sector, as mental health professionals are adamant to come by. 

  1. Social Stigma

There are multiple social stigmas associated with mental health problems and treatment in Bangladesh. Although the situation has been improving, the general outlook of society prevents patients from seeking the help they need. As a result, 92.3% of people with mental health issues do not seek professional help. [6]

  1. Policy Weakness

Mental health services receive a small portion of the budget, which results in a lack of resources for patients. This weakness in policy has eventually created more systematic problems in different parts of society. 

The Way Forward

The way forward for mental health services will require a potent combination of support from the healthcare sector (both public and private) as well as public health policy experts. The following recommendations can help the mental health sector of Bangladesh moving forward:

  1. The health sector should receive a greater allocation in the budget.
  2. Educational Institutions such as schools, colleges, universities, etc., should have mandatory mental health support facilities from certified professionals. 
  3. It is essential to establish more training institutions for mental health professionals.
  4. Increasing exposure and funding must be provided to peer support groups to promote their effectiveness in treating mental health issues.
  5. The public and private sectors need to work together to fund and support startups working in mental health. These modern-day solutions have the power to reach out to the youth and connect with them on a personal level.
  6. Increased awareness of mental health services through public health campaigns

In conclusion, mental health services have historically been tough in Bangladesh because of the lack of recognition of the problem. Thankfully, people are starting to recognize these problems across the country, and they are looking for contemporary solutions instead of traditional ones. Infrastructure development is crucial for the new waves of people seeking assistance and should be prioritized. Both public and private organizations must step forward to pave the way forward.

Eqra Mohammad Resalat Ohee Trainee Consultant, and Farah Hamud Khan, Senior Business Consultant & Project Manager, at LightCastle Partners, have prepared the write-up. For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]


  1. Adult Population: 2.25cr suffer from mental disorders – The Daily Star
  3. Mental Health and the Health System in Bangladesh: Situation Analysis of a Neglected Domain – Researchgate
  4. Global Health Workforce Alliance – World Health Organization
  5. 16.8% of Bangladeshi adults suffer from mental health issues – Dhaka Tribune

WRITTEN BY: LightCastle Analytics Wing

At LightCastle, we take a systemic and data-driven approach to create opportunities for growth and impact. We are an international management consulting firm which creates systemic and data-driven opportunities for growth and impact in emerging markets. By collaborating with development partners and leveraging the power of the private sector, we strive to boost economies, inspire businesses, and change lives at scale.

For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]

Want to collaborate with us?

Our experts can help you solve your unique challenges

Join Our Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with our Thought Leadership and Insights