Integrated action plan in offing to promote mental health


The Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens has framed the ‘Integrated Action Plan on Psycho-social Counselling Service for Mental Health Management’ to address the problems of mental illness and behavioural disturbances facing people.

The integrated action plan envisages 20 activities to be performed by various ministries, commissions, departments, offices, non-governmental organisations, provinces, local levels and Police.

As per the integrated action plan, the MoCSC, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies and the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security will be responsible for providing psycho-social counselling to the persons mentally disturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also involving them in livelihood improvement programmes.

The Ministry of Health and Population and the MoLESS are required to launch programmes for youths forced to return home due to loss of job in foreign countries.

“Government agencies will take the initiative to protect the rights and interests of senior citizens, the helpless, single women and differently-abled persons in a bid to help them overcome mental problems,” it says.

One of the activities to be performed under the integrated action plan is to prevent and control the suicide rate in the country. “If there is credible information that somebody is going to commit suicide, Nepal Police, along with Psychosomatic Counselling Coordination Centre will locate the particular place and person through use of technology to prevent such an unpleasant incident.

They will also provide psycho-social counselling to persons with suicidal thoughts,” it reads.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Nepal Police and District Government Attorney’s office will analyse the available facts about suicide to resolve problems that lead people to kill themselves. The Federal Psycho-social Counselling Coordination Centre will conduct necessary trainings for counsellors working at the provincial and local levels for implementation of the integrated action plan.

Victims violence, sexual and gender minorities, and women and children taking refuge in rehabilitation centres have also been included in it.

According to the National Mental Health Policy 2017, different studies show that mental problem is the leading cause of suicide among women of reproductive age.

About 20 per cent of the general population suffers from various forms of mental illnesses in Nepal. The policy aims to create an environment in which mental health is valued and promoted, mental disorders are prevented, and persons affected by mental health issues are able to exercise a full range of human rights and have access to timely, high-quality and culturally-appropriate health and social care.

The policy has adopted five policies in the area of mental health to ensure easy availability and accessibility of basic and quality mental health services for all citizens, prepare necessary human resources to deliver mental health and psycho-social service, protect the fundamental human rights of people with psycho-social disability and mental illness, enhance public awareness to promote mental health and combat the stigma attached to mental illness.