Self-reported psychological distress during the COVID-19 outbreak in Nepal: findings from an online survey

Kamal Gautam, Ramesh P. Adhikari, Aman Sen Gupta, Rajan Kumar Shrestha, Pitambar Koirala & Suraj Koirala

BMC Psychology

Published on: 9 December 2020

Background: A lower respiratory tract infection caused by novel coronavirus termed as Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) was first identified in China and subsequently took the form of pandemic. Studies on disease outbreak in the past and recent COVID-19 outbreak have demonstrated increased psychological distress and adverse impacts on mental health and psychological wellbeing of people. However, the impact of COVID-19 on psychological wellbeing of people in Nepal hasn’t been studied adequately. So, this paper aims to report the findings from a social media survey on psychological impacts of COVID-19 in Nepal.

Methods: Data were collected through social media from 2082 Nepalese respondents between 23rd April, 2020 and 3rd May, 2020. A total of 2014 respondents who were currently residing in Nepal were included in the analysis.

Results: The study suggested that half of the respondents suffered from at least one symptom of psychological distress whereas 32% suffered from two or more symptoms of psychological distress such as restlessness, fearfulness, anxiety and worry and sadness in the past 2 weeks preceding the survey date. The findings further suggested that respondents having lower family income, residing in rented room, and participants from province 2 were more likely to suffer from both single and multiple symptoms of psychological distress.

Conclusion: The study has shown high prevalence of psychological distress amongst the Nepalese respondents following COVID-19 outbreak. Appropriate mental health and psychosocial support response needs to be instituted to adequately respond to psychological impacts of the epidemic.

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