A research report dissemination event of “Hidden Aftershocks: An assessment of the Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs of Earthquake Affected Communities in Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Makwanpur districts” was held at Hotel Platinum on 26th January. The research was conducted by TPO Nepal with the support of American Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society in collaboration with Nepal Red Cross Society. The objective of this event was to share the findings of the research conducted by TPO Nepal in three earthquake affected districts of Nepal- Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Makwanpur, from November 2016 to January 2017. The program was chaired by Mr. DevRatnaDhakhwa, Secretary General of Nepal Red Cross Society. Guests included Mr. KlausPalkovits, Program Coordinator of IFRC, Mr. Naresh Kumar Chapagain, Executive Director of Department of Women and Children, Mr. Umesh Dhakal, Chief of Earthquake Recovery program of Nepal Red Cross Society, Ms. Lila Mulukutla, Country Representative of American Red Cross, Dr. BhesrajPokhrel, chief of Disaster Management Section, Department of Health Services and Mr. Surya Chandra Neupane, chief of Nepal Red Cross Society, Makwanpur.
After the welcome speech by Mr. Umesh Dhakal, presentation was given by Mr. Suraj Koirala, Executive Manager, Mr. Damodar Rimal, Sr. Research Officer and Ms. Dristy Gurung, Research Coordinator from TPO Nepal.
The presentation focused on the mental health and psychosocial status of the earthquake affected communities. The most commonly reported mental health and psychosocial problems weredepression symptoms (39.4%), anxietysymptoms (38.4%), alcohol use problems(25.5%), and suicidal thoughts (21.7%). Similarly, symptom of mental health problems were relatively higher among women, individualswho were widowed, separated or divorcedfrom their partners, and members of minorityethnic groups including Chepang, Magar,Newar, and Tharu. The qualitative findings showed that people used both positive and negative coping strategies after the disaster and they commonly went to traditional healers and religious leaders to seek support.
Another presentation was given by Ms. ChetanaLokshum, Program Coordinator from Samaprpan Academy about the issues and challenges of Nepal in mental health especially after earthquake 2015. After this, key note speeches were given by guests such as Mr. Klaus Palkovits, Dr. BhesrajPokhrel and Mr. Naresh Kumar Chapagain.
Final remarks were given by Mr. DevRatnaDhakhwa, Secretary General of Nepal Red Cross Society. He stated that the way we address the problems shown by this research was more important now and thanked all the participants and everyone who contributed towards the research.