Kathmandu, July 13
Mental health was not in the government’s list of priority health problems needing attention despite the fact that almost 20 per cent of the population faced some kind of a mental problem, psychologists said.
As the patients with mental ailments were neglected in the society, the government also neglected them, they said.
Free medicine distribution for mental patients, preventive measures and treatments were not in the government’s priority health concerns, senior psychologist Dr. Kapildev Upadhyay said.
According to Dr. Upadhyay, there was a misunderstanding about mental problems in Nepal. Most of the people did not want to disclose their problem. Even the people who were getting treatments wanted to keep their disease a secret with their family, Dr. Upadhyay said.
Mental health problems are understood as arising out of some disorder and damage of the mind.
Several studies have showed that mental problems were high in the economically backward countries.
"As Nepal is a poor and conflict-hit country, it is estimated that more people suffer from some type of psychological problems," Dr. Upadhyay said.
According to studies conducted several times in Nepal, 10 per cent of
all population is suffering from different types of neurosis, five per cent from depression, one per cent from epilepsy, two or three from chronic mental
problem, three per cent addicts of alcohol and around one per cent conflict victims. The studies show that around 20 to 25 per cent people or one in every five have some mental problem.
Psychologist Dr. Shreekrishna said in our society mental stress, tension in family, emotional hurt, economic problem, and difficult marriages were also a cause of mental ailments.
In these cases, without any physical symptoms, people may suffer from headache, sleeplessness, fright and frustration, he said.
Psychotherapy and counseling was the basic mode of treatment for mental ailments, he added. However, these services were not developed in Nepal. The government should establish counseling centers, he said.
Dr. Upadhyay said the government should integrate treatment of mental ailments in primary health services. As the government has been providing free medicines in several physical diseases, medicines for epilepsy, and depression should be provide free of cost too, he said.
Presently, the government has allocated 0.1 per cent of the total budget for mental health. The budget also should be increased, he said.