Mental Health 2023: The Ministry of Health and Population is actively engaging with individuals facing mental health challenges by collaborating with Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs). The joint mission was to shine a light on mental health issues across the nation, extending a helping hand and positively impacting communities along the way.
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Empowering Communities for Mental Health 2023
The authorities hope that through this initiative, thousands of individuals who have been deprived of treatment for their mental health conditions can obtain timely medications with the help of FCHVs.
Dr. Phenindra Boral, the head of the Mental Health Section in the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division stated “We are preparing to provide a two-day training on mental health awareness for FCHVs, We aspire that, with the assistance of Female Community Health Volunteers, a significant number of mentally ill individuals residing in remote areas can be identified, and they can receive timely treatment.”
Around the country, 51,423 Female Community Health Volunteers are providing healthcare services. The officials emphasized that FCHVs have played a crucial role in the success of public health programs in Nepal.
Comprehensive Health Programs
These programs, encompassing supplements like Vitamin A, anti-parasitic programs, maternal and child health, nutrition, immunizations, and the prevention of diseases stemming from vectors and water, have witnessed the active participation of FCHVs.
Nepal has significantly reduced the maternal mortality rate, decreasing it from 539 in 1996 to 239 in 2016. The country was honored with the Millennium Development Goal Award for this achievement, crediting the hard work of FCHVs.
Similarly, the Mother’s Group under these health volunteers has also played a significant role in empowering women and reducing violence against them.
Building Capacity for Mental Health 2023 Support
As per, Dr. Boral, they are currently providing mental health training to health workers in 55 districts and after the completion of health workers’ training, the awareness program for FCHVs will soon commence.
The Ministry of Health has allocated 10 lakhs (one million) Nepalese Rupees for training health workers and FCHVs in mental health.
Dr. Basudev Karki, a psychiatric expert at Nepal Mental Hospital, mentioned “We will provide some case studies to address mental health issues—such as anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, psychology, and suicidal thoughts for FCHVs, FCHVs will encourage patients to visit nearby health facilities for treatment.”
Challenges and Progress
Studies indicate that the challenges arising from mental health 2023 issues in Nepal—impacting individuals, families, and communities—can be distressing in terms of severity, burden, and expenses.
Nepal unfortunately grapples with one of the highest suicide rates, underscoring the seriousness of mental health challenges within the nation.
According to the data provided by the Nepal Police, during the fiscal year 2022-2023, 6,993 individuals lost their lives by suicide, averaging more than 19 individuals daily. Sixty-three percent of the suicide death ratio were men.
Stepping Towards a Healthier Future
In Nepal, people generally avoid discussing mental health issues due to the associated societal stigma and lack of awareness. Doctors say that suicide attempts are not made due to a single reason but due to a complex situation involving multiple problems.
Experts point out that the growing number of individuals triumphing over mental health challenges is linked to the increasing importance placed on life itself. The daily struggle for fundamental needs like food, shelter, healthcare, and job stability plays a significant role in this context.
The doctors emphasize that whatever the reason may be, suicide and suicide attempts have a significant impact—impacting families, friends, partners, siblings, and communities.
A study conducted in the past by the Nepal Health Research Council unveiled a concerning statistic: nearly 13% of the Nepali population grapple with some type of mental health condition. It’s a significant issue that needs attention and support. This means that one out of eight Nepalis is facing mental health issues. Moreover, the country lacks enough professionals to address mental health issues adequately.
Their estimation paints a stark picture: there are approximately 200 psychiatric doctors in the country, with the majority concentrated in major cities.
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