Dawood Foundation and British Asian Trust join hands to promote mental health amid COVID-19 pandemic

Karachi, 16 June, 2020: As part of the PKR 1 billion Hussain Dawood Pledge, Dawood Foundation - the charitable arm of the Dawood Hercules Group - has entered into a strategic partnership with the British Asian Trust to promote mental health support among frontline workers and the general population directly affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Under the program, outreach services will be developed to provide mental health support and referral for frontline workers, patients screened and tested for COVID-19 through the Indus Health Network and other partner hospitals, and the public in general as well. The program will be executed in collaboration with IRD Pakistan, a health delivery and research organization that has devised specific mental health interventions catered to healthcare providers and population affected by COVID-19. According to Shahzada Dawood, Vice Chairman of Dawood Hercules Corporation, “While the effects of COVID-19 on our physical health have come increasingly under focus, the issue of mental health and psychological distress cannot be ignored in terms of the overall health and wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the mental health crisis in Pakistan, highlighting an urgent need to make support services more widely accessible. By leveraging the expertise and experience of British Asian Trust, we aim to create a meaningful impact by improving accessibility of mental health services and changing community attitudes towards this important topic.” Richard Hawkes, the Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust, added that. "There has been global recognition that COVID-19 is having and will continue to have a significant impact on mental health. Particularly in parts of the world where mental health is underacknowledged and under-funded, the uncertainty, anxiety, fear and isolation caused by the pandemic is having a devastating impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing. With a common desire to respond to this mental health crisis, The British Asian Trust, Dawood Foundation and IRD Pakistan are coming together in a strategic partnership to develop a joint approach to provision of mental health services. With our combined efforts, we hope to provide support to over 20,000 individuals over the next few months." Aneeta Pasha, Country Director of IRD Pakistan, stated that “We are very excited to be a part of this initiative and to be supported by the Dawood Foundation and British Asian Trust. We know there is an incredible need for mental health services in these exceptional times and are encouraged by the support we have received in our endeavor to provide meaningful interventions to create an impact in mental health amid the COVID-19 environment.” This mental health initiative is part of the PKR 1 billion pledge made by Mr. Hussain Dawood, Chairman of Engro Corporation and Dawood Hercules Corporation. Under this pledge, the Group is supporting COVID-19 relief efforts in services, cash and kind on multiple fronts, including: • disease prevention, with a major focus on testing and diagnostics • protecting and enabling healthcare practitioners and other key workers, who are at the frontline of the fight against this pandemic • enabling patient care and facilities • bolstering livelihoods and sustenance of the most deserving in society. ------------------------------------------------ENDS---------------------------------------------------------