Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
Dear friends, allies, partners and family in Myanmar and elsewhere,
thank you for reaching out and for visiting our website. Maybe you simply chose to explore our humble website or maybe you are feeling distressed. There is never any shame in that!
Since the pandemic began in 2020, mental health related issues have been widely discussed around the world, not least due to the fact that Covid-related measures, isolations and lockdowns were a psychological burden for many people. Studies show that the number of people seeking professional support for mental health problems has increased exponentially during Covid, particularly amongst youth worldwide.
In Myanmar it’s been even more challenging: the double disasters of Covid and Coup have brought tremendous suffering to the people, with ongoing conflict throughout the country and the daily risks of being detained, monitored, or simply shot on the street due to a Facebook post. These unspeakable acts of violence have caused trauma, survivor guilt and mental distress among many in the wider population, particularly among younger people, who are faced with an uncertain future.
However, this is also a chance. Now there is, maybe for the first time, room to talk about mental health, an issue that was somewhat of a taboo topic in Myanmar. Every crisis has a silver lining, and greater mental health awareness among the wider population may be one of the very few positives coming out of these difficult times.
The good news is: You are not alone! Many friends and allies in Myanmar reach out to us, share their grievances and problems, which can be manifold. Examples include:
- Fear of being detained for no reason
- Lack of sleep
- Violent abuse, torture
- Fear of having to hide or not being able to live freely
- Not being able to see friends and loved ones as usual
- Survivor guilt
- Exile, escape and loneliness
- Guilt of ‘not doing enough for the cause’
- Covid-related stress
- Unemployment, study problems or worries about the future
- Sexual violence
- Homophobia and discrimination
- Religious, ethnical, or gender-related persecution
These are just some reasons why people are reaching out to us. However, our team is small and does not include any professional psychologists – so far. Since we strictly follow the “Do No Harm” code, we are unable to offer professional help ourselves. But we don’t need to!
There is a growing number of fantastic CSOs, support groups, telephone support lines, community groups, INGOs and individuals who are specialised in mental health and are providing support to the people of Myanmar. Here on our website, we will try to list all the resources we know of. You will find some absolutely invaluable resources – for free, and in Burmese, Jingpho, Karen and other languages! Please take your time and check out these websites.
Feel free to ask us any questions or send us further resources about mental health that we may have overseen. We’re always happy to hear from you!
|MHPSS||An incredibly useful, and regularly updated, list of remote mental health services available in Myanmar||Link|
|Mental Health Support Myanmar||The current situation in Myanmar is causing many individuals in Myanmar to feel worried, stressed, and uncertain. Past traumatic experiences could influence people’s coping capacity as well as how people perceive and react to the current situation. Furthermore, the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic still requires attention. A high level of needs for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services is observed, but the demand is not comparable with the availability of mental health professionals in Myanmar. Therefore, UNFPA has created this platform as a means to connect those who need MHPSS services and MHPSS service providers. The platform is expected to meet people's needs for MHPSS services by making it more accessible to the people in Myanmar||Link
|MHPSS Working Group Myanmar. Mental Health and Psychological support||The purpose of MHPSS is to enable sustainable coordination and information sharing between MHPSS actors in Myanmar, harmonize group understanding of principles for MHPSS intervention, and to facilitate referrals. Here you will find PLENTY of resources available for free, in various languages.
There are also wonderful self-care videos available for those who seek advice on how to take care of yourself whilst in distress.
|Aung Clinic Mental Health Initiative||Aung Clinic provides support to people of all ages with mild to severe mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, PTSD, psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. We also support people with intellectual disabilities with behavioral problems, and those struggling with alcohol and drug abuse/ misuse. Our General Practitioner also provides general medical care.||Link|
|American Red Cross: Psychological First Aid. Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19 Online Course||Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19 Online course during the pandemic. The course content is based on guidance from the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This online course is designed for anyone interested in learning techniques for supporting mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.||Link|
|Disaster Ready||The largest free online learning library for humanitarian and development professionals
We particularly refer to the ‘Psychological First Aid’ Online course available on their website, which you can partake in for FREE (American Red Cross offers this course for $20)
|Basic Psychosocial Skills - A Guide for COVID-19 Responders||This illustrated guide aims at building basic psychosocial skills among all essential workers responding to COVID-19 in all sectors. This guide is available in Burmese, and also in Shan, Karen, and other ethnic languages||Link