Mental health and psychosocial support in Nepal earthquake

The majority of the earthquake affected population experienced the distress caused by loss family members, relatives and belongings, trauma, continuing aftershocks, and harsh social and living conditions. More than normal psychological distress, cases of moderate or severe mental disorder were also noticed in the community. Mental health and psychological activities had significant contribution in reducing the normal psychological distress in earthquake affected communities.

Major activities

  • Psychiatrists were trained on mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG) and dispatched to the affected districts to orient medical doctors in diagnosing, treating and referring the persons with the mental health disorders
  • Mental Health Help Desk was established different in the health facilities in EQ affected districts
  • Psychological First Aid and mental health screening and pro-active case findings of people with probably mental health problems were in priorities

Challenges

  • Entangled with the lack of the minimum standard in WASH, inadequate food and nutrition support, miserable housing condition, it seemed that earthquake affected people had poor psychosocial help seeking behaviors. It could be because of poor health literacy on the importance of psychological support in post disaster condition or presence of strong capacity for psychological resilience in adverse condition in affected population. Pre-existing social stigma in the understanding of the mental disorders among general population was also the prevailing problem.
  • Lack of proper coordination among stakeholders for referring the person with mental disorders
  • Inadequate number of referral centers for the individualized care of psychological problems

References

https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/nepal
https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/nepal/health
https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/nepal/foreign-medical-team-wg
https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/nepal/injury-and-rehab
https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/nepal/mental-health


My education includes training in medicine, public health, clinical research, biostatistics and health response in complex emergency. I have more than seven years of experiences in health research (Survey, Case control studies, Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT), Health Policy and Systems Research). My areas of expertise also include the project management particularly in health sector. I have also experience and interest to work in health emergency in large population in disaster setting.

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