Pakistan is facing an increasing prevalence of mental health conditions, which coupled with a lack of accessible mental health services, results in a large treatment gap. Nearly one third of the population has experienced a mental health condition. A recent report published by a reputable news agency reported that 15-34 people in Pakistan die by suicide a day.
Umang was created in April 2019 to address this need. It is a 24/7 accessible mental health helpline, that operates free o cost for people with mental health conditions who wish to anonymously (or otherwise) seek help from qualified psychiatrists and psychologists.
Summary of relevant work:
The helpline is entirely run by a volunteer group of 100 people all of whom are clinical psychologists, having completed a Masters in Clinical Psychology.
The clinical psychologists work under strict supervision of seniors (mental health specialists and practitioners) along with continual guidance in the form of regular case discussions via audio calls, or training videos through the organisation’s YouTube channel (some of the videos are openly accessible to all).
- Umang Pakistan has been fully operational since May 2019 after running a pilot phase, and in the period of 5 months.
- Through the helpline we have conducted around 500 counselling sessions and 275 follow up sessions
- Traffic typically comes from our Facebook and Instagram pages. No official marketing is conducted due of limited resources
Social stigma and religious taboos associated with mental health conditions and symptoms continues to act as the biggest challenge to Umang’s work. To this end, in addition to free counselling services and psychoeducation, Umang is determined to fight the taboo associated with mental health conditions in Pakistan by raising awareness about conditions, their signs, symptoms and treatment options nationwide.
While Umang is fortunate to have a strong body of volunteers dedicated to improving access to mental health care in Pakistan, we are conscious of the impact this has to the sustainability of our services. In order to keep our services free of cost whilst ensuring a high-quality standard of professional help, we expect to receive assistance from the government and establish a donor programme.
Primary Image: Boy using a cell phone © Pulpolux!!! on Flickr [Link]
Umang is being self-funded at the moment and being run by a team entirely based on volunteers. They are looking for a public-private partnership and in talks with both government and non-government bodies for it’s long term sustainability.
Seeking collaboration with:
Experts by experience/service users