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Animal husbandry skills training for livelihood group members

Mental health in Lao PDR

In Lao PDR, 75% of the population live in rural areas, and around a quarter are classified by the World Bank as living in poverty. Of the people suffering from mental illness in the country approximately only 0.13% has access to mental health treatment and there are only two psychiatrists serving the entire country. There are also only two psychiatric inpatient units in the country with 35 beds available in total; both are located in the main city of Vientiane Capital. The only two outpatient clinics are also located in Vientiane Capital to service the entire population of approximately 6.1 million people. Very few people with mental health issues in Laos are able to access the treatment and support they need.

Our work

We began operating in Lao PDR in 2007 and since then over 7,800 people with mental illness or epilepsy, their carers and family members have been through our programme.

Our holistic mental health and development services are delivered through:

BasicNeeds Lao PDR

BasicNeeds Lao PDR, first began its work in Laos in the Vientiane Capital in 2007. Following the success of the pilot project, our work was then expanded outside the capital to the three poorest districts of the Borikhamxay Province in 2010 and then to the Vientiane Province. In 2013, the ‘National Mental Health Strategy’ to be delivered by 2020, was actually drafted by BasicNeeds in collaboration with the WHO country office at the invitation of the Ministry of Health and approved in the same year.

As a key partner in national mental health care delivery, BasicNeeds Lao PDR is seeking to support the implementation of this new strategy to build capacity and expand benefits of community mental health care on a national scale. In order to do this, it collaborates closely with the Ministry of Health, with government hospitals and with other agencies interested in mental health and development.

Chantharavady“The application of the BasicNeeds community mental health and development model suits very well the context of Lao PDR and responds to the demands for poverty reduction. The key challenge is the lack of human resources trained in mental health which means that mental health services are limited only to two general hospitals based in Vientiane Capital and 16 districts of operation.” Chantharavady Choulamany, Programme Manager,  BasicNeeds Laos PDR.

Our impact to date

As of December 2015, 8,100 people including those affected by mental illnesses, their carers and family members have been supported through our programme in Laos.

Contact information

BasicNeeds Lao PDR
House No. 074, Inpeng Street, Unit 8
Ban Watchan, Chanthaboury District
Vientiane Capital
P.O. Box 3905

Tel no.: +856 20 55527857/ 55428854

Click here to download the Lao PDR Factsheet

Latest news

Blog: A small step towards big data in mental health. Click here to read. (Dec 2015)

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