Open Access Open Badges Research article

Mental disorders in Bangladesh: a systematic review

Mohammad Didar Hossain1, Helal Uddin Ahmed2, Waziul Alam Chowdhury2, Louis Wilhelmus Niessen34 and Dewan Shamsul Alam1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Control of Chronic Diseases (CCCD), International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), 68 Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Sharani, Mohakhali, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh

2 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh

3 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Pl, Liverpool L3 5QA, Merseyside, UK

4 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:216  doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0216-9

Published: 30 July 2014



Mental disorders constitute a major public health problem globally with higher burden in low and middle-income countries. In Bangladesh, systematically-collected data on mental disorders are scarce and this leaves the extent of the problem not so well defined. We reviewed the literature on mental health disorders in Bangladesh to summarize the available data and identify evidence gaps.


We identified relevant literature on mental disorders within Bangladesh published between 1975 and October, 2013 through a systematic and comprehensive search. Relevant information from the selected articles was extracted and presented in tables.


We identified 32 articles which met our pre-defined eligibility criteria. The reported prevalence of mental disorders varied from 6.5 to 31.0% among adults and from 13.4 to 22.9% among children. Some awareness regarding mental health disorders exists at community level. There is a negative attitude towards treatment of those affected and treatment is not a priority in health care delivery. Mental health services are concentrated around tertiary care hospitals in big cities and absent in primary care.


The burden of mental disorders is high in Bangladesh, yet a largely unrecognized and under-researched area. To improve the mental health services in Bangladesh, further well-designed epidemiological and clinical research are needed.

Mental disorders; Depression; Systematic review; Prevalence; Comorbidity; Service delivery; Management; Treatment; Bangladesh