The British Asian Trust in partnership with CareTech Charitable Foundation has been working with local organisations in Pakistan to fund sustainable models for low-cost mental health support in Pakistan – a country with a historical lack of mental health resources and understanding. These funders and other donors have so far contributed £1 million to the programme.
The organisations based in Pakistan that are working with British Asian Trust and CareTech are Interactive Research and Development (IRD), an organisation committed to building healthcare infrastructure in Pakistan; Sehat Kahani, an all-female telemedicine organisation; Taskeen, a mental illness prevention nonprofit; and Aga Khan University.
‘While important and significant strides have been made in addressing the mental health crisis in Pakistan, there is still more work that needs to be done, especially as we begin to exit the Covid-19 pandemic and begin to return to normalcy,’ said Haroon Sheikh, CareTech Foundation Chairman.
‘More people than ever will need to know where they can go for help and trust the services they are receiving.’
According to the British Asian Trust, currently one in four people – roughly 50 million people – in Pakistan are affected by issues such as depression and anxiety, but only 0.4 per cent of the national health budget is allocated to mental health.
Among outcomes of the partnership between British funders and Pakistani nonprofits has been the opening of a Wellness Centre at a hospital in Karachi offering free counselling, expanding the reach of telemedicine counselling programmes, and piloting online resources that will equip parents to support children and young people with mental health issues that were unable to access therapy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ongoing and future support will be focused on expanding the reach of these programmes to more communities in Pakistan, building greater local presence, and building further regional and institutional partnerships to support programme delivery, said the British Asian Trust and CareTech in a statement.
Mental health issues have been rising everywhere. In October 2020, an Alliance survey found that the mental health and well-being has deteriorated in over half of those working in philanthropy. Read more.