Mental Health issues were often viewed as a taboo in our part of the subcontinent including Bangladesh that is more of a social stigma. Integrating specialized health care such as mental health services within primary health care (PHC) is one of the most fundamental recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). The burden of mental health disorders in Bangladesh is yet to be measured precisely as it has been done in the developed countries. A recent systemic review has reported the prevalence of mental disorders among adults ranging from 6.5 to 31.0% and among children ranging from 3.4 to 22.9% in the country. Despite the relevant need for primary mental health care services, Bangladesh is yet to holistically integrate mental health into its primary health care system.
Similarly, little is known about the mental health status of apparel workers. Attention has largely been on their basic safety measures, especially fire or building safety. When physical health is reported, it is largely about their musculoskeletal conditions like body or joint pain or at most their lung capacity. This is not surprising that mental illness is mostly ignored or under-reported in most developing countries where awareness among ordinary people is low and diagnostic skills of health professionals are limited. Poor mental health does impact apparel worker’s quality of life, well-being, family relations, and social engagement. This increases their risk of developing acute mental health conditions and research shows that people with depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders have higher unemployment rates, greater job turnover, less productivity, and more absenteeism.
However, Posh Garments as one of the oldest ready made garment manufacturers in Bangladesh along with key members of the Bangladesh Garments & Exporter’s Association (BGMEA) aims to address mental health awareness with the utmost importance through several upcoming projects. One of these projects involves “MonerBondhu” which will help Posh Garments Ltd to increase mental health awareness along with providing a suitable environment and expert treatment for workers to improve their conditions over a period of time. The initial part of this program was held on the premises of Posh Garments and a significant number of workers participated voluntarily.
The program comprised of three major stages starting from a discussion about mental health, discussion about concentration, and the practices to improve one’s condition. Discussion about mental health was held by physical counselor Mr. Mubarak who explained several issues such as anger, depression, and loneliness. The second phase involved counseling on how to overcome the above problems. A session was held which involved the practice of eyes, hands, and feet to overcome physical pain and tiredness. Lastly, an instructive yoga session took place which has been proven to reduce mental health conditions steadily. Posh Garments
shall undertake more similar projects in the future that will focus on the prevailing mental problems of garment workers, and pledges to provide medical assistance and expert sessions to improve the mental state and well-being of its team members.