Thursday, 11 October 2012

Increasing Mental Health Problems affecting Nepalese women

Sex-wise I think women are mostly sufferer of mental health problems such as neurosis, hysteria, depression, etc in Nepal that might be relating to gender-based violence prevailing in our society. Isn't that shameful for our society to hear this and how badly gender-based discrimination has prevail in Nepal? The root cause of gender-based discrimination in Nepal and India is due to the Law of Manu (Manusmriti) that has been imprinted in our belief and socio-cultural practices. 
Since Nepal is diverse in its socio-cultural structure (101 caste/ethnicity with 93 local dialects as per the Census 2001) as well as geo-ecologically (Mountain, Hill and Terai) so I wonder which group of population in terms of caste/ethnicity and religion wise are mostly affected by mental health problems. 
Interesting to read this below article about the mental health problems in Nepal which is very sadly in increasing in trend and killing our innocent women who are the victim of the Law of Manu.

"In 2009, suicide became the No. 1 cause of death for women of reproductive age, which may be related to the lack of power they feel in their lives and the high incidence of gender-based violence here, according to the plan. As such, the government is recognizing mental health as an important element of safe motherhood and adding mental services to the Essential Health Care Services package."

An increasing number of women in rural areas report suffering from mental illness. Experts attribute this to poverty, illiteracy, gender injustice, civil war and neglect. Doctors cite a lack of facilities, knowledgeable personnel and government support in treating these women. Government officials say policies are in place, but they just need to be executed.

In Nepal, there has been a gradual increase in awareness of mental health in the general population and the number of people seeking treatment, according to a 2006 World Health Organization, WHO, report. There is a national mental health policy, and psychotropic drugs are now widely available.

But Nepal has only one official psychiatric hospital, and mental health services are scarce in remote and rural areas, according to the WHO. Recent statistics on mental illness and effective health legislation are also lacking. Financial constraints complicate care, as the majority of Nepalis live in extreme poverty. To date, the government has allocated little of the budget to mental health care.

Mental health experts say that these women suffer from “general neurosis mental condition” caused by stress and sadness, a state in which the patients know what they’re going through. People suffering from higher levels of mental illness don’t realize their condition and often tend to sleep on the streets and go without sufficient clothing and food for days.

..."Rajesj Jha, a counselor for the Center for Mental Health and Counseling-Nepal, CMC-Nepal, a nongovernmental organization that works on preventative and curative aspects of mental health, says that about 80 percent of families in Humla, Jumla, Salyan and Rolpa, rural districts in Nepal’s Midwestern Region, have women with mental illnesses."

Experts working in this field say that poverty, illiteracy, gender biasness, domestic violence, migration of men and the decade-long Maoist insurgency have contributed to the rising number of women in rural areas suffering from psychiatric problems.

“Mental health of women in rural Nepal isn’t positive,” Jha says. “They need more counseling and also treatment.”

Most of the women with mental illness tend to be bound by their love for their children, says Tara Chaulagain, who has been a mason at Ashadeep for 10 years.

“Even while suffering their mental conditions, I see them breastfeeding their babies,” Chaulagain says. “Women are always bound by their responsibilities even when they lose their sanity. And this is a big difference between male and female patients.”

Ram Lal Shrestha, director of CMC-Nepal, says the government hasn’t focused on producing more doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and counselors despite the increase in mental illness.

“The increase in the number of people with psychological [issues] isn’t just a social problem,” he says. “It will affect the country in the long run.”


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