Thursday, October 20, 2011

SPOTLIGHT on the Nepal Mental Health Foundation

The Nepal Mental Health Foundation is the first of its kind in the country and the effort is spearheaded by one man, Jagganath Lamichhane. Jagganath is remarkable in his dedication to the cause of mental health education and reform in his native land, despite having the door closed on him by almost all international and multi-national NGOs.

According to the NMHF website, mental health is the highly overlooked and neglected dimension of public health in Nepal. Despite the fact that mental illness is one of the most prevalent health conditions in world, around 90% of the people in the Low and Middle Income Countries (LAMICs) like Nepal do not get treatment. In Nepal, less than 0.20% of health care expenditures by the government are directed towards mental health.

There is no mental health policy and no human rights review body with the authority to inspect mental health facilities and to impose sanctions on those facilities that persistently violate patient's rights.

For mental health treatment, there is scarcity of resources, inequities in their distribution and inefficiencies in their utilization. Resources included are policy and infrastructure within countries, mental health services, and community, human, and financial resources. Research shows that over 80% of mental disorders are preventable and treatable, but in LAMICs like Nepal only 10% of the population gets access to care and treatment.

According to government resources, Nepal, a country of 27.1 million people, there are approximately 40 licensed psychiatrists, 5 clinical psychologists, and only 108 public inpatient psychiatric beds, mostly concentrated in the capital city Kathmandu.

Nepal Mental Health Foundation (NMHF) is the mental health consumer based human rights organization. Stigma erodes the confidence of mentally ill people and their families to seek treatment and to believe that mental disorders are valid and treatable health conditions. Their mission is to establish the importance of mental health and to make society aware that it is as important as physical health to the overall well-being of individuals, societies and countries.
The Foundation has three major goals:
Nepal Mental Health Foundation works towards achieving major three goals:
• To increase public understanding and awareness on mental health based on scientific researches.
• To reduce the stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness.
• To advocate for mental health policies and human rights of mentally ill people in the country and around the world in collaboration with national and international partner organizations.

Please visit their website at

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