The British Asian Trust was launched in 2007 at the request of HRH The Prince of Wales, with a vision to unlock the potential of disadvantaged people across South Asia. Over the past 10 years, the British Asian Trust has impacted the lives of three million people with high-impact interventions to address the region’s critical unmet needs. The COSARAF Foundation has partnered with the CareTech Foundation and the British Asian Trust to invest in a £1million partnership by which to deliver a step change in mental health and wellbeing provision in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s population has now exceeded 207 million and urbanisation is increasing at an unprecedented rate, from 32% in 1998 to 50% in 2017. Years of unrelenting security situations, in-flow of refugees and economic uncertainty, have made Pakistan’s population vulnerable to high levels of stress and disquiet. As a result, mental health problems affect 1 in every 4 people in Pakistan – over 50 million people. This represents a huge cost, not only to individual lives, but also to the national economy and future prosperity.

Pakistan lacks the care and support services that people with mental health problems require and the country needs to respond to this looming crisis with urgency.

The British Asian Trust is investing in solutions that will improve both the clinical and non-clinical services available to people with mental health problems, as well as the wider population’s perception and understanding of mental health. Through this innovative programme, mental health and family wellbeing will improve through transformative solutions that are collaborative, scalable, sustainable and engage the private sector.

The programme’s solutions include:

  • Working with clinical support centre Fountain House, to provide mental health screening and referral services, as well as basic counselling support
  • Developing a Mental Health First Aid Training programme with BasicNeeds Pakistan to ensure professionals, such as teachers, doctors, and social workers, as well as wider community members have the knowledge and skills to support people with mental health problems
  • Creating and testing innovations that could change the way mental health services and support are delivered in Pakistan, including an M-Health App and Online Counselling Service

This programme will:

  • Enable 100,000 people with mental health problems to access mental health support within their communities
  • Provide access to clinical mental health services for 10,000 people
  • Ensure that 500,000 people have increased awareness of issues relating to mental health, leading to reduced stigma around mental health


There are 50 million people in Pakistan suffering from mental health issues, but hardly any services to support them. In the whole country there are less than 400 psychiatrists – 1 for every 125,000 people affected. The partnership with the COSARAF Foundation will enable the British Asian Trust to hugely expand our work in this area and ensure more people are getting the vital support they need.
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive
British Asian Trust