Call to increase funding for mental health services

Kathmandu, May 20

Experts have demanded that the government allocate sufficient budget for the mental health sector.

At a programme organised by Women Rehabilitation Centre, Deputy Director at National Human Rights Commission Yagya Prasad Adhikari said only 0.5 per cent of the country’s total budget was allocated for the mental health sector last fiscal. “Allocation for the mental health sector should be increased in the upcoming budget,” he added.

“Mostly, women who face domestic violence suffer from mental health problems. Such women require counselling. The local levels should formulate policy to address this problem,” said Anil Thakur, secretary at National Women Commission.

According to World Health Organisation, 450 million people in the world suffer from mental health problems. Among them, 300 million people suffer from depression and anxiety disorder.

As per the 2011 census, 30,997 people in the country were suffering from mental health problems then. Nepal ranks seventh among countries with the highest suicide rates among people of reproductive age.

Abiram Ray, program director at WOREC, said 38 per cent of women facing domestic violence suffered from mental health problems.

Minister of State for Health Padma Aryal said apart from establishing mental health hospitals, it was necessary to find out the root cause of mental health problems. “The local government and community must pay attention to areas where the government has not been able to focus on,” she said.

Social Development chief at Kathmandu Metropolitan City Nur Nidhi Neupane pledged to set up mental health desks in all local levels and allocate budget for counselling patients.