Adults more prone to mental health problems

April 22, 2019

The Himalayan Times, April 21, 2019

About 13.2 per cent youths aged 18 and above in the country suffer from mental health problems, according to a report. National Mental Health Survey conducted by Nepal Health Research Council shows that adults are more prone to mental health problems.

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

Likewise, 7.3 per cent have substance use disorder, 1.1 per cent have current psychotic disorder, 6.1 per cent have dissociative conversion disorder and one per cent have epilepsy.

As per the report, 11.2 per cent teenagers have one or the other forms of mental health problems.

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

Similarly, 8.7 per cent teenagers and 10.9 per cent adults have suicidal tendency. Of the total mental health patients, only 21 per cent visited hospitals in the last 12 months.

According to Chairperson of Nepal Health Research Council Anjani Kumar Jha, Nepalis are at increased risk of developing mental illness 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 stigmatisation.”

According to multi-sectoral action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (2014-2020), an estimated 18 per cent of non-communicable disease burden is due to mental illness.