Whatis “Mental Health”? As per the definitionprescribed by WHO, “Mental health is the state of well-being in which everyindividual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stressesof life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contributionto his or her community”. An individual’s mental state can alsobe judged on the basis of the way they feel about themselves, the quality oftheir relationships, and the ability to manage their feelings and deal withdifficulties. Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental healthproblems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free ofdepression, anxiety, or other psychological issues.
Rather than the absence ofmental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positivecharacteristics. Mental health is one of the blindeyed areas in the health care sector of Nepal. There is one nationalpsychiatric hospital in Kathmandu run by Nepal Government, and smallerpsychiatry units in other hospitals. A few civil society organizations also runprograms and clinics providing mental health care, with a focus on awarenessraising and psychosocial counselling and support towards access to medicalcare.
Even with all these efforts, the majority of the population are stilldeprived of basic mental health services which impedes their quality of life. The most challenging thing for manypeople with mental illnesses is that they are not accepted by family membersand society, and people living with psychosocial disabilities often experiencea sense of prejudice from the society. Present Context As per the article published on Himalayantimes on December 2017, the number of patients at the Mental Institution,Lagankhel has been doubled compared to the past 10 years.
Lack of awareness andunavailability of enough health facilities has been proclaimed as the leadingcause. Along with that substance abuse, unemployment, failure and financialproblems also have a major impact towards mental stability. As a result morepeople are inclined towards suicide as a solution to their problems. Thesuicide rate of the nation has also thus increased in the past 3 years with maximumof the cases reported as the result of depression.According to the statistics provided byNepal Police, there was a total of 5124 cases of suicide in the year 2016/17 wherewas in the year 2014/15 it was 4332.
Although policies regarding mental healthhave been initiated in the year 1997 but even after almost 21 years it has yetto be implemented. In common withother Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) the budget allocated formental health is minimal and mental health services are only concentrated inthe major cities. The key challenges for maintaining a Mental Health Care Planaccording to a research report by United States National Library of Medicine were overburdened health workers, lack of psychotropicmedicines in the Public Health Post, lack of mental health supervision in theexisting system, and lack of a coordinating body in the Ministry of Health andPopulation (MoHP). In order toovercome these challenges, proper policy implementation and involvement by the MoHPby providing psychotropic medicines (drug that affects a person’s mental state)and appointing a senior level officers in all the possible district healthposts to facilitate project activities, and collaboration with National HealthTraining Centers (NHTC) and even the private sectors for conductingtraining and awareness programs.