Rajshahi University Mental Health Centre (RUMHC) aims to ensure the mental wellbeing of the persons affiliated with the university.
Since its inception in 2017, the RUMHC, a voluntary programme to help the teachers and students of the university with their mental health problems, has provided supports to 600 students, teachers, and staff struggling with mental health issues.
Prof Dr Anwarul Hasan Sufi, a retired teacher of the Psychology department of the university, started the centre. It now consists of three teachers, one psychologist as well as several internees. They all are working on an honorary basis.
In the last two academic sessions, the RUMHC arranged a total of 1,208 individual and group sessions to help the affected persons. It also set up a virtual platform to provide supports to the students during the lockdown.
Emphasising the importance of mental care and support for university-level students, Prof Sufi said, "The increasing reports of mental health conditions among the university- level students are alarming. Moreover, the students during lockdowns due to Covid-19 showed a high prevalence of mental health issues. Several students of different institutions across the country have committed suicide during the lockdown. The university authorities of the country should be more responsive to the mental health issues to ensure the wellbeing of the students."
Md Mahadi Hasan, the internee coordinator of the centre, said, "Due to lack of awareness about mental health in our culture, the persons combating with mental health issues hardly seek help until reaching the breaking point. Almost 90 per cent of the students seeking the help of the centre report having suicidal ideations that have developed for quite some time.”
“Increased academic pressure, family and relationship complexities are among the main factors of mental illness among the university students. We have seen a dramatic rise in the number of disclosure of mental health issues during the lockdown period. But, the service of our centre has always been greatly overwhelmed by the level of demand," he said.
"The current mental health situation among the university level students of the country calls for an immediate action from the university authorities that are proactive, visible, and accessible," he added.