• Over two million children and teenagers are estimated to be affected by mental health problems

Kathmandu, March 20

The Ministry of Health and Population has developed the ‘Procedure for Rehabilitation of Mentally Ill Persons’ in line with the constitution, Public Health Service Act and other prevailing laws.

The constitution states that each citizen shall have the right to obtain basic health services free of cost from the government and no one shall be deprived of emergency health services.

Similarly, the Public Health Service Act has a provision of providing medical treatment to mentally ill persons or those with psycho-social disability and ensuring their rehabilitation and reintegration with concerned families. The procedure states that it has been developed for the operation of rehabilitation programmes targeting mentally ill persons.

The main objective of this procedure is to provide medical treatment to disabled, helpless and unclaimed persons suffering from mental diseases or psycho-social problems before their rehabilitation and reintegration with family.

According to the procedure, any person, hospital, care home, psycho-social service centre or security agency may provide information about the mentally ill persons, both living at home or wandering around unclaimed, to the concerned health institutions designated by the government.

Such persons will be entitled to medical and other services on the recommendation of the concerned local level.

All government, private or institutional hospitals and medical college or health sciences academies where treatment of mental diseases are available shall provide services to the recommended persons. The Department of Health Services under the Ministry of Health and Population shall reimburse the medical bill to the concerned hospital upon his/her discharge.

Over two million children and teenagers are estimated to be affected by metal health problems of some form, says a report of the Ministry of Health and Population. Various studies show that mental problem is the leading cause of suicide among women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years).

Similarly, prevalence rates of mental illness in Nepal suggest that about 20 per cent of the general population suffers from mental illnesses.

The National Mental Health Policy has made a provision of creating an environment in which mental health is valued and promoted, mental disorders are prevented, and persons affected by these disorders are able to exercise full range of human rights and access high-quality, culturally-appropriate health and social care in a timely way.

It aims to ensure easy availability and accessibility of basic quality mental health services, prepare necessary human resources in order to deliver mental health and psycho-social service, protect the fundamental human rights of the people with psycho-social disability and mental illness, enhance public awareness to promote mental health and combat stigma resulting from mental illness, and promote and manage health information system and research.

One out of every five persons living in the low-and medium-income countries suffer from mental health issues and  20 per cent of the people living in South Asian countries are suffering from some kind of mental illness, according to a report.