YMCA to launch free counselling service
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.