Mental health care in Nepal: current situation and challenges for development of a district mental health care plan

Abstract

Globally mental health problems are a serious public health concern. Currently four out of five people with severe mental illness in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) receive no effective treatment. There is an urgent need to address this enormous treatment gap. Changing the focus of specialist mental health workers (psychiatrists and psychologists) from only service delivery to also designing and managing mental health services; building clinical capacity of the primary health care (PHC) workers, and providing supervision and quality assurance of mental health services may help in scaling up mental health services in LMICs. Little is known however, about the mental health policy and services context for these strategies in fragile-state settings, such as Nepal.

A standard situation analysis tool was developed by the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME) consortium to systematically analyze and describe the current gaps in mental health care in Nepal, in order to inform the development of a district level mental health care plan (MHCP). It comprised six sections; general information (e.g. population, socio-economic conditions); mental health policies and plans; mental health treatment coverage; district health services; and community services. Data was obtained from secondary sources, including scientific publications, reports, project documents and hospital records.

This study describes many challenges facing mental health care in Nepal. Most of these challenges are not new, yet this study contributes to our understanding of these difficulties by outlining the national and district level factors that have a direct influence on the development of a district level mental health care plan.

Citation

Luitel, N.P.; Jordans, M.J.D.; Adhikari, A.; Upadhaya, N.; Hanlon, C.; Lund, C.; Komproe, I.H. Mental health care in Nepal: current situation and challenges for development of a district mental health care plan. Conflict and Health (2015) 9 (1) 11 pp. [DOI: 10.1186/s13031-014-0030-5]

Mental health care in Nepal: current situation and challenges for development of a district mental health care plan

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