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Thursday, March 10, 2016, Falgun 27, 1422 BS, Jamadiul Awwal 29, 1437 Hijri

Drafting of Psycho, Social Counselling policy hits snag
Saifunnahar Sumi
Published :Thursday, 10 March, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 16
Finalization of the National Psycho Social Counselling Policy (draft) 2016 has been put on hold because of conflict between psychologists and psychiatrists.
Based on the recommendations from different ministries, Bangladesh Clinical Psychologist Society and Bangladesh Psychological Association, finalization of the draft has now become uncertain.  
The psychologists are concerned with counselling without use of drugs but the psychiatrists are interested in use of drugs first and the final policy would mention the recruitment of psychologists or psychiatrists across the country.
Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) has been drafting the policy over the nine years with an aim to improving quality of life, developing mental and social state and sharpening skills in line with the framework of Bangladesh Constitution, preventing student dropout rate, boosting creativity, teaching in exciting environment and to ensuring good relations between students and teachers etc.
The draft policy also included improving proper working environment by delivering regular training to the officials to improve communication skill, to mainstream the disabled people, to raise professionals' responsibility and to strengthen the professional network, to get people affected by natural or manmade disasters back in normal life and to take initiatives to raise mass awareness on psycho- social counselling etc.
The draft was expected to be finalized by March 1 but due to some loopholes, a technical committee has been formed with renowned professionals, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) Secretary, Nasima Begum ndc said. The committee has no timeframe, it is learnt.
"The Ministry is very helpful in framing the policy, the stakeholders should help to make it easy as it has already taken years to prepare the draft", said Professor Dr. ASM Atiqur Rahman of Social Welfare Department, Dhaka University.   
Country's 16.2 per cent of total population has been suffering from different types of mental problems, a national study conducted by National Mental Health Institute and World Health Organisation in 2006 said.
And 4.6 per cent have been suffering from depression which is the main reason behind suicides.
Among other reasons, arrested development in childhood, malnutrition, lack of proper care, illiteracy, lack of self-control, poverty, increased mental pressure, mental and sexual harassment, problems in family and social life, pressure of dowry and extra-marital affairs are some of the factors behind mental and physical problems, the study said.
The mental problems play major role in raising non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, heart ailment and migraine etc.
Counselling plays the main role in improving metal and psycho-social problems and the policy seeks to reach government and non-government counselling service to the people's door.
According to the National Psycho-Social Counselling Policy (draft) 2016, psychiatrist, clinical psychiatrists, counselling psychiatrists, social workers, clinical social workers will provide counselling to people.
They will provide psycho-social counselling in families for mental development in childhood, teen age and for old stage. Street children, disabled people, educational institutes, offices, and social welfare institutes including hospitals, clinics, diagnostic and palliative care centres, religious institutions, day care centres, child development institutes etc. are to come under its ambit.
Special people like drug addicts, HIV positive people, stigmatised people like Hizra, prostitutes and homosexuals, victims of disasters, emergency managers, people engaged in transportation will also be provided social counselling.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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