At least 16.8 per cent of the adult population in and 13.6 per cent of the children in Bangladesh suffer from mental disorders, revealed a survey.

Depression, anxiety and pain or fatigue are the leading causes of the adults’ mental disorders , revealed the National Mental Health Survey of Bangladesh 2018-19.

Among children in the 7-14 age group the prevalence of mental disorder is 13.6 per cent, found the survey jointly conducted by the Non-communicable Disease wing of the Health Services and the World Health Organization.

Neurodevelopment disorder and anxiety were found to be the leading causes of the children’s mental health problems.

On Thursday, the findings were released in the capital’s KIB auditorium.

According to the survey, 92.3 per cent of the adult patients cannot access treatment.

And 17 per cent of those who go to doctors  do not complete treatment.

And 94.5 per cent of the child patients were found to be out of the coverage of treatment while 29.2 per cent of the children who go to doctors leave their treatment incomplete.

Due to taboos the patients avoid seeking treatment, found the study.

It found that 18.9 per cent of the adult male patients and 13.88 per cent of the adult female patients were stigmatized for their  mental disorder.

The survey also found that 11.6 per cent of the adult male patients and 12.4 per cent of the adult female patients show no interest in  seeking treatment.

Parents of the children with mental disorder said 22.7 per cent of their children have sleep problem, three per cent have no friends, 49.9 per cent miss school without permission, 2.5 per cent of the parents don’t spend time with their children and seven per cent of the parents don’t monitor homework of their children.

In 2005, another study was jointly conducted by the WHO and the Health Services on the state of the country’s mental health problems.

A comparison of the findings show that the mental health disorders increased from 16.5 per cent in 2005 to 16.8 per cent in 2019.

The study found that among those who seek treatment, 39 per cent go to chambers of mental health doctors, 23 per cent to other doctors’ chambers, 2.2 per cent go to homeopaths or Ayurveda practitioners, 2.2 per cent go to specialized hospitals, 24.2 per cent to general government hospitals, 5.5 per cent to general private hospitals and 2.2 per cent consult folk healers.

Principal investigator of the survey, Faruq Alam, professor of the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, said that 250 mental health doctors for the country of 16 crore people highlights the acute shortage of the specialist physicians.

Faruq said mental health should be incorporated in primary healthcare system as health remains incomplete without sound mental health.

Health Services director general Abul Kalam Azad said the under preparation national mental health strategy would be completed by early 2020.

He said the mental health care would be visible after the adoption of the strategy.

Health minister Zahid Maleque said mental health care should be given priority to achieve sustainable development goal.

He said a separate mental health wing would be opened under the Health Services and that mental health care would be included with the primary healthcare system.

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