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Adolescent psychosocial well-being and voice and agency in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Adolescents in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE

Authors

Zia Mohammad
Maheen Sultan
Laura Camfield
Sabina Faiz Rashid
Jennifer Muz

Publication type:
Policy briefs and policy notes
Date: July 2019

The 2017–2030 Bangladesh National Strategy for Adolescent Health recognises mental health as one of the four priority areas along with sexual and reproductive health, nutrition and violence. However, mental health services in Bangladesh are currently limited.

A systematic review on the mental health situation of Bangladesh revealed that the overall prevalence of mental ill health varied from 6.5 to 31% among adults and from 13.4 to 22.9% among children (Hossain et al., 2014).

This brief explores the context, factors and challenges that have an impact on the psychosocial well-being and voice and agency of adolescent girls and boys living in the slums of Dhaka. In Dhaka, baseline data collection entailed quantitative interviews with 780 adolescent girls and boys and more in-depth qualitative research involving 36 adolescents and their families and communities.

It looks at adolescents’ reaction to difficult situations and their resilience and motivation to overcome adversity. It also outlines how family support networks provide both financial and emotional support and how peer and community relationships play a role in physical and mental development. In addition, it looks at availability or lack of availability of services to assist adolescents’ transition into adulthood.

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