I was born in a rural area of Bangladesh. According to my own experiences, Bangladesh is a country where urban areas are more developed than rural areas. People who live in the urban areas have more opportunities than the rural areas, such as the internet, phones, laptops, better education systems, more employment opportunities. To develop the resources for rural areas, many organizations in Bangladesh are working on them. One of them is BRAC. BRAC is the largest Non-Governmental Organization in the world. BRAC’s mission is to alleviate poverty and encourage economic participation by empowering people through social and economic programs. Founder Fazle Hasan Abed created BRAC after becoming disillusioned with poverty in Bangladesh. Now, BRAC has a positive impact in the poorest Asian and African countries in the world, reaching an estimated 138 million people. BRAC is an organization that works with vulnerable people to make their life better. The Covid-19 pandemic has made life in Bangladesh more challenging. During the pandemic, BRAC emphasized supporting children and their families with psychological support in the rural areas of Bangladesh.
In my personal experience, when anyone or any organization raises their voice to talk about mental health, emotions, safety, sexual issues, people feel tense because nobody ever talked about it to them. Many people in rural areas think health is just physical: they rarely imagine that mental health is as important as physical health. They think, why is it important? We didn’t have to learn anything like that to feel better, so why do our kids need to learn this? Fortunately or unfortunately, many of these same parents also suffer from psychological problems, and are unable to recognize what it looks and feels like from lack of common knowledge.
The most common psychological disorders in these rural areas are depression and anxiety. Many things contribute to the development of mental health disorders in rural areas: early marriage, lack of education/technology, having children at an early age, etc. It can be difficult for the community to recognize a person who has mental health problems. During the pandemic, cases of depression worsened, since people were not able to maintain in-person connections. Not being able to communicate created more stress and sadness. COVID-19 made people think about the importance of having someone beside them. When people are talking with someone, they can share their emotions, and think through their problems with others who can give them solutions or support them. Unfortunately, COVID-19 was not allowed to get this support in person. Staying home for a long-time made people disconnected from their regular life.
Sometimes children are not allowed to use phones that could help connect them to others, when they need them to gain experience with the modern world. Many believe that giving phones to children is bad, because they don’t have enough knowledge about the effects of the technology. People can use their phones in many ways. They can use it in a bad way–and also learn about the world. Personally for me, by using the phone I learned a lot. I can find any information just by googling it, so it makes my life easier. Also, it can be more fun for children rather than just spending boring time learning something.
In Bangladesh’s rural areas, people are a little bit behind in technology. It is important to know about technology for everyday life, because with that knowledge people can use their knowledge to help them mentally by participating in online communication platforms. During the COVID-19 situation, I was not allowed to have time with friends.I was not allowed to go outside and talk with someone about any issues. Technology became more important as people were more dependent on their phones, to get mental support from any organization–or just by messaging with family and friends.
In these terrible pandemic situations, BRAC brings a model called “Moner Jotno Mobile E.” In English, it means, taking care of your mental health on the phone. They partnered with clinics to give them psychological assistance to provide support to the participants with their mental health. They were teaching children by creating Play Labs based on psychology concepts. This creative model helped participants find more engagement to engage with others and to learn about mental health. As a result of their project, they said, “BRAC soon learned that the children loved hearing from their Play Leaders, and these calls made caregivers feel more valued and safe.” It is very rare to teach about mental health in Bangladesh, as it is not commonly taught or talked about in schools. According to the article, their Play Labs helped students learning from home receive mental health support from their partner psychologist.
According to the video, mental health is a necessary part of our body to think about. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Struggles with mental health can be triggered by the loss of a loved one, moving to a new country, family separation or divorce, and other intense emotional situations. All of those problems affect the students in the most important area of education. In those situations, they think that no one understands them; students feel alone, act impulsively, or take risks. So, for many reasons, I strongly agree that it is necessary to talk about mental health in school to give knowledge about it to students. On the other hand, students will get lost, so we need to take care of students because today’s readers will be our next leaders in the world.