British Asian Trust

Mental Health and Wellbeing for all in Pakistan

CareTech Foundation, along with the COSARAF Foundation, partnered with the British Asian Trust on a three-year Programme designed to enhance mental health services in Pakistan. The primary objectives were to increase access to support services and reduce the stigma associated with mental health. Impact assessments indicate that the Programme successfully raised awareness of mental health issues, expanded access to services, and improved service provision. As a result, in January 2022, the foundation extended its partnership with the British Asian Trust for an additional three years, aiming to further the success and scope of mental health services in Pakistan.

Phase 1:
Working closely with local partners in Pakistan, the British Asian Trust provided targeted support where it was most needed. This was accomplished through women-only support groups, combining mental health assistance with clinical treatment plans, offering specialized Programmes for mothers, and providing referral services for addiction and substance abuse support for street children and adults. This was achieved through three main action points:

1. Improved Awareness: In response to the pandemic, the British Asian Trust and its partners adapted their face-to-face community outreach efforts by launching a multi-channel campaign. This campaign aimed to increase mental health awareness and guide individuals in need towards available services, reaching an impressive 16.8 million people in Pakistan.

2. Enhanced Access: Through the Programme, 1.5 million individuals actively benefited from mental health awareness sessions, helpline support, and engagement with the Community-Focused Outreach campaign.

3. Enhanced Provision: Over the course of three years, the Programme provided mental health support services to a total of 95,941 individuals, including support groups, forums, one-on-one assistance from professionals, and remote support for children and adolescents. Furthermore, the British Asian Trust and its partners trained 1,988 practitioners to identify, refer, and support individuals dealing with mental health issues.

The CareTech Foundation contributed more than just financial support. The organizational backing provided by CareTech Group played a pivotal role in the Programme’s success. Key figures such as Helen Stokes, MD, and Dr. Alice Parshall, Head Psychiatrist from Specialist Services in CareTech Group, shared their expertise during visits to Pakistan. They also participated in the British High Commission event, facilitating discussions among mental health experts in Karachi. Additionally, the pro Foundation supported BAT in securing funding, matching the £230,000 raised at BAT’s gala dinner with the Pakistan Cricket Team, titled ‘Hit Mental Health for Six.’

Towards the end of the project, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Programme became a priority. BAT collaborated with partners to seamlessly integrate mental health services into their existing offerings. As a result, mental health services will remain accessible through 37 clinics and healthcare facilities across the country.

Phase 2:
The second phase of our partnership with the British Asian Trust encompasses several objectives, all aimed at building upon the foundations established in Phase 1 of the partnership. During this second phase, we intend to train 250 frontline workers in mental health. The desired outcome is to ensure that this project continues to grow indefinitely. By having trained frontline workers on the ground, the project can become more self-sufficient, reducing the need for external support.

Additionally, the project aims to screen 50,000 individuals for mental health issues and refer them to the appropriate support services. We have provisions in place for 30,000 individuals to receive counselling from qualified psychologists, psychiatrists, or trained medical practitioners. Furthermore, 2,600 people with mental health issues will be referred to secondary services tailored to their specific needs. Through these support and mental health sessions, we will collect comprehensive data from over 250 target communities. This data will inform both the provision of services and the establishment of quality standards, facilitating the creation of a comprehensive set of quality standards for mental health care in Pakistan.

Moreover, the project seeks to engage new stakeholders from the public and private sectors who will actively support mental health initiatives. We aim to secure £100,000 in funding from Pakistani sources and gain endorsement from the government for a Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Benefits Package Mental Health Training Curriculum for Family Physicians (FPs) and General Practitioners (GPs). This endorsement is critical for ensuring the long-term sustainability and integration of the Programme within national systems, allowing its impact to extend well beyond the initial three-year duration.

In this manner, the project will leave a lasting legacy, positively influencing the broader mental health ecosystem in Pakistan. It will facilitate improvements in the availability, accessibility, and quality of mental health services and will spur an increase in national investment in mental health.

"We are incredibly grateful to the CareTech Foundation & COSARAF Charitable Foundation for the generous initial funding which catalysed the whole programme."
Richard Hawkes, British Asian Trust