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"Mental Health is treatable" and "Suicide is preventable" - these are the messages we shared in Kathmandu and across Nepal through 10k runs (or walks) held on 1st October. Hundreds of people participated in Nepal for the first ever mental health awareness runs in the country and the first that UMN has organised too - we never imagined it would get this big! Our working areas in clusters caught the vision and were keen to run their own events in their areas, even walking or running up and down hills.
UMN works in five districts of Nepal to improve mental health in our cluster areas. We train health workers in mental health, management, medical services, and train psycho-social workers. UMN initiated this opportunity to raise awareness of problems suffered by millions of people in Nepal and beyond. Nepal has the third highest female suicide rate in the world. Only 10% of people suffering mental health problems receive treatment. There is often a big social stigma associated with mental health problems, so that those suffering may try to hide their problem, or be locked in a room by their family. Or others have been blamed as a witch who caused someone\'s mental health problem.
For these runs or walks, we initiated them with a lot of cooperation and participation with many health services, local government, NGOs, universities and other institutions to promote mental health awareness. Others around the world have joined in for a "Virtual run", and today on World Mental Health day, Okhaldhunga hospital has joined with their own event.