National Mental Health Survey, Nepal

[Active] Translation of tool and pre-testing has been completed. Data collection for pilot study in three districts has been completed and data analysis is in progress.

November 2017-December 2018

NPR 5 million

Ministry of Health

Bhaktapur, Dolakha and Dhanusha

The prevalence and disease burden of mental disorders have remained incredibly high globally. The treatment gap for mental illness is significant all over the world. Around 76% and 85% of people with severe mental disorders in low and middle-income countries receive no treatment for their mental health conditions. The magnitude, suffering, and burden regarding disability and costs for individuals, families, and societies due to mental disorders are staggering in Nepal. First epidemiological field survey conducted in the Kathmandu Valley in 1984 estimated the prevalence of mental illness around 14 percent. Multi-sectoral action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (2014-2020) estimated the 18% of the NCD burden is due to mental illness. The present estimates of mental health problems are derived from small-scale studies in urban areas making it impossible to generalize the results in national context. Further, policy debates on mental health need of Nepalese population have been limited by the lack of national-level data on the prevalence of mental disorder and unmet need for services. So, there is a need for a mental health survey representing the national population.

However, before conducting such a large scale national level study for the first time, it is imperative to go for the pilot study so as to study the feasibility of conducting the national level survey. So this study aims to conduct a pilot survey regarding the status of mental illness, the existing barriers to care and health service utilization in Nepal that will be followed by a national level epidemiological study.

Objectives of the project have been explained separately for the national level survey and the pilot survey as below:

General objective of the national level survey:

  1. To assess the prevalence of mental disorders and help seeking behavior among people with mental disorders in Nepal


     Specific objectives of the national level survey:

  1. To estimate the prevalence of mental disorders
  2. To find out the socio-demographic factors associated with the mental disorders
  3. To identify the pathways to care for mental disorders
  4. To assess treatment gap and possible barriers to initiation and continuation of mental health treatment

Objectives of the pilot study:

  1. To assess the preliminary prevalence of mental disorders
  2. To assess the feasibility of the national level survey
  3. To refine the tools being used in the survey
  4. To estimate the time, cost and human resource required for the national level survey
  5. To enhance capacity of the research team

The project will deliver a complete analytical report with a clear national picture of the prevalence of mental disorder and unmet need for services. The available data will be one of the important data points to be fed so as to produce national BoD estimates for Nepal. The estimates will be a baseline study for further researches and planning of policies regarding the funds invested in the mental disorder and mental health services. This study will also help to predict the burden and potential economic costs that the GoN will have to bear in future days.