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Meeting mental health needs in Jammu and Kashmir

©Giulio Di Sturco

What We Do

MSF has been providing free, high-quality counselling to people affected in the valley since 2001. Currently, our teams provide counselling services at hospitals in four districts: Baramulla, Bandipora, Pulwama, and Srinagar. To combat the stigma associated with mental illness, MSF teams also raise awareness on the importance of mental health and the need for availability of mental health services in the valley.

Years of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir have taken a toll on people’s mental health in the state. According to a survey conducted by MSF in 2015, nearly 1.8 million adults (45% of the adult population) in the Kashmir Valley show symptoms of significant mental distress. This is compounded by the stigma associated with mental illness.

In 2019

MSF continued to provide mental health counselling service at district hospitals in Baramulla, Bandipora, Pulwama, Srinagar, the sub-district hospital in Sopore and SKIMS Soura in Srinagar. 

MSF piloted until July 2019 a Community Mental Health Care Program in Bandipora district to support the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in their efforts to increase community-based mental health care. The evaluated outcome proves the success of a decentralized health care model in a population with high prevalence of mental distress. 

Following the abrogation of Article 370 on in August, 2019, and accompanying online service blackout, MSF/DWBI conducted a data analysis of mental health status of the clients visiting MSF/DWBI counselling clinics, which indicated that this status has worsened during the last quarter of 2019. Therefore, MSF/DWBI reviewed its activities with various stakeholders of mental health services in relation to needs in Kashmir Valley. Consequently, current community mental health care programme reinforces the mental health service proximate to the community and improves the referral pathway to mental health services at district hospital in addressing and decreasing the population’s mental distress through a bottom-up approach.

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counselling sessions conducted
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patients (45%) were first-time visitors
0 %
first-time visitors were women
0 %
patients belonged to the age group 20-29 years
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