A Concerned Call

Earlier today I had a talk with Matrika Devkota, chairman of Koshish, a National Mental Health Self-Help Organisation over a phone. He called me to discuss about the mental health situation in Nepal.  He was very concerned that Nepal’s mental health policy has been dormant since 1996, the time it was formulated more than a decade ago. It still remains ignored. He informed that Koshish had organised an interaction program yesterday  in order to urge the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to give due attention for the implementation of the policy. Implementation of such policy would be a big relief to all the stakeholders and mental health service takers. However, I think the policy needs to seriously redrafted before much effort is made for its implementation. Fourteen years is a long time so, the policy needs to be changed according to present situation and needs. Matrika and his organisation is now actively engaged in a campaign to advocate for the implementation of the policy.

Read the related news below:

Mental health unit sought

Added At:  2010-12-06 11:48 PM

Last Updated At: 2010-12-06 11:48 PM


KATHMANDU: Former mental patients today urged the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to set up a focal point or unit to coordinate and monitor mental health problems, in accordance with National Mental Health Policy 1996.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Koshish, a National Mental Health Self-Help Organisation, Matrika Devkota, chairman of Koshish said, “The government should implement Mental Health Policy 1996 to ensure the human rights of the mentally ill.” According to the policy, a separate mental health section would be set up at MoHP and the unit under the section would be responsible for all activities related to mental health.

“If provided holistic treatment, most mental illnesses are curable, but the government is reluctant to appoint psychiatrists,” said Devkota, who is also a mental patient.

It’s also the unit’s responsibility to coordinate and monitor mental health related activities according to the action plan of the policy.

Member of National Planning Commission Dr Chet Raj Pant, invited mental health stakeholders to his office for formulating short and long-term mental health plans. “We need to define mental health in our context before dealing with them,” said Panta. “ It is believed that more than 10 per cent of the Nepali population is affected by one or other type of mental problem, while the socio-economic demands have increased as Nepalis are now exposed to the outer world,” he added.

Speaking at the programme, Dr Baburam Marasini, head of the Department of Non- Communicable Diseases at MoHP, said bringing problems related to mental health to light was the first and foremost task.

The government should guarantee basic human rights to mentally ill people and by the end of the tenth five-year plan, provide psychiatric services to persons with limited means, marginalised groups and disadvantaged people at minimum cost and make mental treatment accessible to all.


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