Survivors advocates on neglected health and social issues in Nepal, continuing its policy advocacy and capacity building work with mental health, disability and other neglected health issues.
Mental Health in Nepal
Mental health problems are highly stigmatized in the Nepali community and stigma and discrimination have been found to be major barriers to treatment seeking behavior and self-care. Lack of financial resources and low mental health literacy, in particular misconceptions about mental health problems, contribute to delay or obstruct access to treatment for individuals. In addition, poverty, conflict, displacement and discrimination based on gender and caste/ethnicity, unemployment, and (labor) migration are found to be key risk factors for poor mental health in Nepal.
1 in 3 Nepalis suffer from mental health problems. According to Nepal Police data, there was a 41% increase in suicides in the 3 months following the 2015 earthquake and suicide is one of the leading causes of death for women of reproductive age in Nepal.WHO modelled an age-standardized suicide rate for Nepal in 2012, ranking it 7th highest in the world. However, Nepal has one of the world’s poorest mental health systems with only 0.08% of Nepal’s health budget spent on mental health, no mental health division in the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Health or in the Regional Health Directorates and no multi sectoral coordinating body to oversee decisions on mental health policy (MHP). In 2016 Survivors trained school teachers in Mental Health Sensitivities and in early identification and referral for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Survivors Nepal is focused on raising awareness and understanding of mental health by educating people who have mental illness, their families and the general public, thereby reducing stigma. Survivors’ projects support people in seeking treatment, contribute to confidence building, potentially reduce isolation and improve the likelihood of people accessing local programs and internet resources.