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WSIF- Woman Support Initiative Forum

Women Support Initiative (WSI) forum is a unified platform which aims to support mental health related and social development aspects of women of Bangladesh.

The conventional available supports in Bangladesh for women targets individual, which may not be feasible for a woman to continue for a long time, particularly they have to be engaged with traditional roles in a family, unless a home environment is supportive. So the overall aim of WSI is to create a peer club where she gets to exchange and share her ideas and views with each other to enhance self care and empower themselves.

In addition, mental health disorders are stigmatized and marginalized due to insufficient health personnel and mass awareness. Only recently these conditions have been recognized as conventional NCDs, but psychiatrists only constitute 0.4% of physicians and one national mental hospital has been established, which is not widely known yet. Moreover, majority people have poor knowledge about psychologists and psychosocial counseling which is one of the crucial components of mental health care. Even if some people realize they need to seek care for their discomfort, they are unaware of what should be done or where to go. Therefore, it is necessary to at least bring this issue in to the limelight through a forum to talk about this openly and reduce the social stigmatization.

Moreover, if a considerable number of alternative workforces can be developed, they can act instrumental raising awareness about mental health through snowball effect in the community.

The primary objectives of WSIF forum on 2017 are

  • Capacity building of the young enthusiasts/ volunteers
  • Arranging at least 6-7 awareness seminars about different mental health and self empowerment topics for the women for the year 2017.
  • Mental health Service provision and small research: Making a small homogenous cohort from the very first seminar of WSIF. With the proper consenting procedure they will be assessed about their mental health status by PHQ-9 tool also about Knowledge, Attitude and practice about mental health.

The selected participants will have to attend the 6-7 awareness seminars annually. They will get boost up text’s monthly provided by volunteers. In addition, there will be a helpline designated for few hours a day where the participants can call in case of any emergency and we will refer them in appropriate experts for the necessary care. After one year, we will follow up them on their mental health status and also in Knowledge, Attitude and practice to find out if there are any kinds of improvement. This evaluation process will generate some baseline evidences on proposed service gaps and also it will facilitate tailoring the future need of the services next year.

The other secondary objectives are:

  • To develop a common platform for women to share and exchange ideas / peer club
  • Producing dialogue on women's mental health
  • To make an inventory of the service centers to facilitate seeking help for mental health related issues (strengthen the referral linkage)
  • Brainstorming for new research and service initiatives for women mental health
  • Evaluating social aspects of women mental health and empowerment in Bangladesh
  • Adapting strategies against depression and other mental health problems
  • Creating mass awareness about women mental health and empowerment
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