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Participant involved in livelihoods activity

Mental health in Nepal

According to studies conducted in Nepal, 25-30% of the general population has one or more mental disorders. Mental ill health is not talked about because of the stigma attached. Traditional and religious healing methods are still actively practiced. Only 0.14% of health expenditures are directed towards mental health and few hospitals and clinics have a mental health facility. The main contextual challenges for mental health in Nepal are the weak policy framework to support mental health interventions, the provision of adequate manpower to deliver services, spreading these services across the remote and mountainous terrain, and increasing public awareness of mental health as a medical issue.

Our work

We began operating in Nepal in 2010 and since then over 10,600 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:


Established in 2009, LEADS, BasicNeeds’ long standing partner and now franchisee, works towards building inclusive communities, where people living with mental illness realise their own basic rights through a community development approach. LEADS have worked with BasicNeeds since 2010 in Baglung and Myagdi districts in the Western region of Nepal. They work in close partnership with government health institutions by building capacity of health personnel to improve the delivery of mental health services to reach vulnerable and marginalised communities. LEADS’s mental health and development programme also support the meaningful participation of people with mental disorders and their carers in all aspects of the mental health system including the planning, design, implementation, policy formulation and evaluation of mental health services.Padam

“People with mental illness and epilepsy and their carers now have hope, something they had never imagined would happen.  The BasicNeeds Model for Mental Health and Development really works and we have seen the difference it has made to the lives of people here in Nepal.” Padam Shrestha, Executive Director, LEADS Nepal.

Recent projects:

Supporting people living with mental illness and their carers affected by the earthquakes

In the days following the massive earthquakes that hit Nepal, LEADS was very closely involved in the relief efforts, making sure people – especially those most vulnerable living with mental illness and epilepsy along with their carers – were provided for in terms of food, shelter, water and blankets. For participants who lost their homes, LEADS was also able to coordinate with the government district relief team to provide direct support to the families. With the help of the funds we raised through our Nepal Earthquake appeal, a counsellor was appointed who continues to offer support to the most vulnerable people in the remote areas. Over the last few months, LEADS was also able to coordinate with both district health officers and senior psychiatrists to hold regular mental health camps at district hospitals and at the primary healthcare level. 20 self-help groups have also been trained by the team in disaster preparedness.

Sustainable livelihoods for people living with mental illness and their carers in Western Nepal

BasicNeeds’ livelihoods project implemented by LEADS and funded by JOA, proved a lifesaver for the people of Baglung and Myagdi districts in the wake of the massive earthquakes that rocked Nepal in April and May 2015. This new project builds on the current project as support is vital to rebuild communities. The project now includes Kaski and Syangia, two hard-to-reach districts in the Western region and which have no mental health related services. It will ensure that a further 1,000 people with mental illness as well as their carers can participate in sustainable livelihood activities through involvement in community based self-help groups. Read more here.

Our impact to date

As of December 2016, 10,681 people including those affected by mental illnesses, their carers and family members have been supported through our programme in Nepal.

Contact information

Pokhara Sub Metropolis 3
Gyan Marg 145

Tel no.: +977-61-539743/538639
Email: [email protected]

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