Mental health camps in Bajhang!
Mental health camps in Bajhang!
Two psychiatrists travelled over 700km from Kathmandu to meet patients in rural Bajhang last week! UMN’s mental health project organised two mental health camps in Bungal and Thalara, attended by 270 people*. Many older people, especially women, came with problems of insomnia. Others came suffering from anxiety, depression, psychosis and epilepsy. 
Besides providing services, the objective was also to provide on-site supervision to the trained health workers of Bajhang District, prompting them to reflect on their approaches and the services they are providing to people. They found it very insightful. It has equipped them with additional skills on taking and assessing case histories of clients, strengthened their ability for diagnosing mental health disorders and prescribing appropriate medicines. For more severe cases they could observe the psychiatrists’ approach and learn some options to enable patient referral to higher centres (for example when patients are very violent or aggressive). 
Two Psychiatrists (Dr Iswori Khanal and Dr Nabin Lekhak) from the Mental Hospital, Lagankhel provided services to the clients. It was very motivating to see people opening up and coming out to seek services for their mental health despite the huge stigma attached to it.
Here some patients share their needs, relief and gratitude:

  • One client said to the doctor: “I will give you these gold earrings if you treat my sleep problems!”
  • “Before I used to fall anywhere, my whole body used to shake, but now the medicines have improved my health. It is also good to meet the experienced doctors from Kathmandu in-person in our district and show our problems and concerns.”
  • “It is a relief to have assurance of your problems and the medicines we are taking. Before, we were a bit hesitant and fearful to take these medicines provided by the local health workers. Now we have gained a sense of belief in them and are happy to receive such services in our local health posts. We are happy to see this camp being organised.”
  • “We don’t usually have money to travel and seek support, but with this camp we were able to seek the desired support and get medicines for free.”
*201 came with mental health problems and 69 with other health problems.

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