UNFPA, Switzerland join hands to address mental health challenges in Rohingya camps

Published : 18 Aug 2022 02:10 AM | Updated : 18 Aug 2022 02:10 AM

The UNFPA and Switzerland on Wednesday launched a new partnership to support mental health services in the Rohingya camps and host communities at a signing ceremony held in Dhaka.

Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland Suzanne Muller and Asia-Pacific Regional Director of UNFPA Björn Andersson were present during the signing.

The project aims to address the lack of adequate mental health and psychosocial support services available in the camps and surrounding host communities, the UNFPA said in a statement.

Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues remain prevalent amongthe Rohingya community in Cox’s Bazar who have endured decades of hardships and abuse prior to their arrival to Bangladesh.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the problem, as restrictions on movement, education and community engagement have been imposed to contain the spread of the virus in the refugee camps.

To address these challenges, UNFPA and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have launched a new community-based mental health and psychosocial support project in Cox’s Bazar.

“Ensuring access to mental health and psychosocial support services for Rohingya refugees and the host communities serves as a prerequisite for dignified living. We hope that this project will significantly improve the availability of such community-based services towards building a resilient and forward-looking community in Cox’s Bazar,” Suzanne Muller said

Björn Andersson said: “For the Rohingya refugees to begin building a new future for themselves, it is essential that we all support them in the healing from the immense trauma they have had to endure for decades across generations. I am proud to be present here today as UNFPA and Switzerland launch this new partnership to provide quality mental health and psychosocial support services to both the Rohingya refugees, and the local communities who are hosting them in Cox’sBazar.”

With a budget of 1.3 million Swiss Francs (approximately 1.38 million USD) generously provided by Switzerland, the project will strengthen community-based mental health and psychosocial support services in the refugee camps and the two surrounding host communities of Ukhiya and Teknaf over the next two years.

Furthermore, the project will seek to raise awareness of mental health issues and enhance protection services for survivors of gender-based violence among the targeted communities.