Kathmandu, February 16
One in every five people in Nepal is suffering from mental health problems, according to surveys.
This information was shared at ‘International Mental Health Conference’ organised by the Primary Health Service Revitalisation Division under the Department of Health Services, Ministry of Health. More than 350 participants are attending the two-day conference.
Speaking at the inaugural session, National Human Rights Commission member Mohana Ansari said society was still not open and friendly to the people with mental health problems due to which they hesitated to share their problems with others.
In rural areas, doctors are still the second priority for consultation. People give first priority to visiting astrologers for solution. “Mental health is a very sensitive issue,” she said, adding that the government should formulate new policy to deal with the issue.
Health Secretary Pushpa Chaudhary stated that mental health programmes were the priorities of the government and this issue was incorporated in the new policy.
According to Division Chief Bhogendra Dotel, the objective of the conference is to provide a platform for exchanging and sharing ideas to prepare action plan and ensure quality and accessible health services. Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal Lasse Johannessen and World Health Organisation Nepal Representative Dr Jos Vandelaer said mental health problem was emerging as a major health issue worldwide and combined efforts were essential to address it.
A version of this article appears in print on February 17, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.