One-day advocacy workshop at Kailali

A one-day ‘Interaction program on the integration of mental health and psychosocial support at local level’ was organized by TPO Alliance, with the support of TPO Nepal and International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, at Gauriganga municipality, Kailali, on 22 February 2022. A total of 19 participants participated in the workshop, including the chair and vice-chair of the rural municipality, officials from different departments of the municipality, and ward chairs from different wards of the municipality. The workshop started at 4 pm and lasted two hours.

The workshop was hosted by Mr. Jeeten Rai from TPO Nepal. During the workshop, a presentation was given by the Head of the Program department of TPO Nepal Mr. Pitambar Koirala. His presentation focused on the introduction of the organization, mental health status worldwide and in Nepal, effects of COVID-19 pandemic, gender-based violence, conflict, available mental health services in Nepal, treatment gap, sustainable development goals (SDGs), and human development. “Around 10.5% of the worldwide disease burden is occupied by mental health problems and the second leading cause of death worldwide is suicide”, said Mr. Koirala. Similarly, Dr. Kamal Gautam, Executive Manager of TPO Nepal, gave his presentation on health, mental health, psychosocial well-being, community mental health, and the need for mental health programs at the local level. He also listed some of the activities conducted by TPO Nepal at the rural municipality, from which more than 500 people have received mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). He also highlighted some of the activities that can be done by the local level for mental health promotion such as programs for at-risk populations, awareness-raising activities, medicine support, and training and supervision of health workers.

The presentation was followed by questions from the participants, such as the sustainability of mental health programs, stigma, budget allocation, and the availability of drugs. After this, the elected representatives gave speeches on mental health.

Firstly, Binod Chaudhary, chair of ward number 11 of Gauriganga municipality highlighted the importance of mental health management for the overall development of the community. “I believe that health, justice, and economy are interrelated. So, we need to make policies and programs accordingly”, said Mr. Chaudhary. After this, the Chief Administrative Officer of the municipality Haribhakta Bhatta gave his speech on the subject. “We have been unable to access the data of people living with mental health problems in the community due to a lack of research mechanism. This data is crucial for planning purposes. Maybe we can train the Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) for the identification of people living with mental health problems. We can keep discussing the continuation of this program”, said Mr. Bhatta.

During the concluding remarks, Mr. Bhim Bahadur Deuba, mayor of Gauriganga municipality said, “Allocating budget in mental health is not a problem. However, need identification of the community is necessary. We are committed to working accordingly to address the community mental health problems”. The program was formally ended after the remarks session. This type of workshop should be conducted time and again at the local level to sensitize the elected representatives on mental health.

This event was featured by a local online news portal ‘Thaha Online’ which can be accessed here:

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