Construction of The Pema Center to begin next month

The Pema Center will act as an apex body for standardization and monitoring of mental health services in the country

The construction of the 60- bedded hospital, The Pema Center at the national referral hospital in Thimphu, will begin in August this year.

The center is secured under government funding of about Nu 600mn – Nu 800mn and it is expected to be completed within two years.

According to an official from The Pema Center Secretariat, the center will function as an apex center for mental health services in the country.

“The center will be an apex body or the center for standardization and monitoring of mental health services in the country to ensure effective service delivery.”

The center will look after all mental health services across the country, including The Pema Center hospital, helpline services, rehabilitation, and any other services that will be initiated for the mental wellbeing of the people.

“Although there were many agencies contributing their fair share, directly or indirectly, to the benefit of mental health and wellbeing of the people, there was a lack of coordination and collaboration among the agencies, which was leading to inefficiency, duplications, and gaps in services,” said the official.

The official added that The Pema Center will be established to function as a nodal agency for mental health and would look after coordination, collaboration, monitoring, evaluation, and filling the gaps in services.

“For instance, The Pema Center Secretariat is an office which will look after coordination, collaboration, planning, advocacy, and policy formulation aspects,” said the official.

According to the official, there are three divisions plus support services under The Pema Center Secretariat.

“The divisions are Violence Prevention and Response Division, Substance Use Prevention and Care Division, Self-harm Prevention Division and The Support Services including legal, finance, administration and IT amongst others.”

Further with the Center, there will be increased capacity for consultation and inpatient care services.

“It will have more counselors providing counseling services, specialized services like Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Mood Clinic, deaddiction services, and other specialized psychiatric services will be catered by the Center.”

The official said that all services provided currently will be strengthened and enhanced with adequate human resources and infrastructures.

Meanwhile, the Salang Tendrel for The Pema Center was done on November 3, 2021, by Her Majesty The Queen. The center is a Royal initiative for mental well-being in Bhutan to build a robust and supportive health care service, to enable people to seek help and receive help from health professionals whenever needed.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu