Adults more prone to mental health problems


Kathmandu, April 20

About 13.2 percent of young people aged 18 or older in the country suffer from mental health problems, according to a report.

National Mental Health Survey conducted by the Nepal Health Research Council shows that adults are more prone to mental health problems.

According to the research report, 3.4 percent of adults suffer from major depressive disorder, while 0.7 percent teenagers (13 to 17 years of age) have this disorder. The study shows that 0.6 percent of adults have agoraphobia (fear of getting into the open), 0.2 percent have social anxiety disorder and 3.4 percent have alcohol use disorder.

Similarly, 7.3 percent have substance use disorders, 1.1 percent have current psychotic disorder, 6.1 percent have dissociative conversion disorder and one percent have epilepsy.

According to the report, 11.2% of adolescents have one form or another of mental health problems.

Among them, 0.7 percent have major depressive disorder, 2.2 percent have agoraphobia, 0.4 percent have separation anxiety disorder, 0.4 percent have social phobia, and 1.1 percent have obsessive disorder compulsive.

Likewise, 8.7% of adolescents and 10.9% of adults have a suicidal tendency. Of the total number of mental health patients, only 21% visited hospitals in the last 12 months.

According to the chairman of the Nepal Health Research Council, Anjani Kumar Jha, Nepalese are at greater risk of developing mental illnesses mainly due to factors such as low economic status, foreign employment, gender-based discrimination and high risk of natural disaster, among others.

"Mental health is still a neglected issue in Nepal," he said, adding, "People suffering from mental disorders are often seen as threats to society, leading to lack of treatment and stigmatization."

According to the multisectoral plan of action for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (2014-2020), it is estimated that 18% of the burden of noncommunicable diseases is caused by mental illness.

A version of this article appears printed on April 21, 2019 from The Himalayan Times.

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