Mental Health in Bangladesh
Mental health in Bangladesh is a hugely stigmatized and largely neglected field of medicine. Pabna mental hospital is the only specialized psychiatric hospital in the country, employing few trained psychiatrists and holding just 500 beds for the 156 million population of Bangladesh. It is estimated that there are only about 150 psychiatrists in the country, less than one per million people, and prevalence of mental illness effects as much as 16 percent of the population. In the largely uneducated rural areas there are few doctors, and families generally take the patient to a traditional healer or religious leader, who usually tries to exorcize the Jinn (spirits) with holy water, a tabiz (metal container holding religious script that will be worn on the body) and versus from the Koran. Families who have a mentally ill family member sometimes restrain them with ropes or chains out of desperation, lack of education and options. Less than 0.5% of government health budget is spent for mental health.