YMCA to launch free coun­selling ser­vice

The Myanmar Times - - News - MYINT KAY THI my­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com

THE Young Men’s Chris­tian As­so­ci­a­tion has launched a coun­selling cen­tre in Yan­gon where peo­ple can re­ceive coun­selling and men­tal health ser­vices free of charge.

Sup­ported by the Ger­man-based Bread for the World or­gan­i­sa­tion, the three-year pro­ject will pro­vide a range of dif­fer­ent coun­selling ser­vices open to res­i­dents of all ages in Yan­gon Re­gion.

Nant Thazin Htwe, pro­ject man­ager of the YMCA Coun­selling Cen­tre, said that in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing coun­selling ser­vices, they will also help their clients ac­cess other ser­vices they may need from dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Pro­vid­ing sup­port to peo­ple liv­ing in re­mote ar­eas of Yan­gon, such as Dala, Dagon Port or Hlaing Thar­yar town­ship, will be a key pri­or­ity of the new ser­vice.

U Taw Myat Soe, a YMCA coun­sel­lor, said that sub-cen­tres will be opened in the fu­ture to serve peo­ple who may not be able to come to the cen­tral of­fice, which is lo­cated at 263 Ma­ha­ban­doola Street in Bo­tah­taung town­ship.

U Thar Sein, pres­i­dent of the YMCA’s Yan­gon chap­ter, added that there are also plans to launch mo­bile coun­selling teams in the fu­ture.

The YMCA’s new coun­selling ser­vices were wel­comed by Dr Sun Lin, se­nior con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist (men­tal health) at San­pya Hospi­tal.

“Most of the peo­ple who face de­pres­sion and men­tal health prob­lems also suf­fer from other prob­lems in so­ci­ety. There­fore, they need not just psy­chol­o­gists but also coun­sel­lors,” he said.

U Taw Myat Soe said the com­mu­nity-based coun­selling ser­vices will com­mence in Jan­uary next year.

“Cur­rently, train­ing is be­ing con­ducted for the coun­sel­lors. We will also train over 80 vol­un­teers in the com­mu­nity and in re­lated fields to sup­port coun­selling,” he said.

Myan­mar has few prac­tis­ing psy­chi­a­trists and psy­chol­o­gists. Health pro­fes­sion­als say that the few men­tal health spe­cial­ists gen­er­ally treat pa­tients with only med­i­ca­tion, due in part to a lack of coun­selling ser­vices avail­able.

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