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British Asian Trust extends support for acid and burn violence survivors in Bangladesh

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THE British Asian Trust has extended help for acid and burn violence survivors in Bangladesh, addressing a critical shortage of mental health services, the UK-based charity said in a statement.

There are around 4,000 acid attack survivors in Bangladesh, nearly two-thirds of them are women.

According to the charity, emotional and mental health support is critical at almost every stage of their lives as severe depression, suicidal tendencies, social anxiety are common amongst survivors.

It is working with the Acid Survivors Foundation to offer better mental health support to acid attack survivors in the South Asian nation. A special training programme has been created considering biological, psychological, and social aspects of trauma counselling.

Also, trained people, who are also survivors, will provide emotional support at the community level, the statement added.

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“Services to support their mental health during this period can help transform their lives. Women who have suffered such violence often find it difficult to reintegrate. The challenges of getting a job, getting married, attending social functions are constant reminders of their attack and subsequent trauma,” said British Asian Trust ambassador Konnie Huq.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive, British Asian Trust, said, “Our work in Bangladesh to support acid and burn survivors is essential in ensuring comprehensive emotional and mental health support for those who need it the most. The trauma experienced by this type of violence is life-changing so specialised support through a community approach is critical.

“We have developed a new counselling module and provide counselling and psychotherapy services to acid attack survivors.”

It is the latest mental health programme of the charity in Bangladesh, building on their previous collaboration with Primark and SAJIDA Foundation to offer mental health first aid to garment factory workers.

This project is supported through funds raised at the British Asian Trust’s 2023 annual Iftar event.

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