disputerer for ph.d-graden i helsevitenskap og vil offentlig forsvare avhandlingen:
Child Mental Health in Nepal
Prøveforelesning over oppgitt emne avholdes kl. 1015
"Challenges in child mental health in low economy countries"
Disputasen avholds kl. 1215 i Auditorium Cortex
Auditoriet er åpent for publikum. Disputasen vil strømmes og et opptak vil være tilgjengelig i et døgn.
The auditorium is open to the public. The defense will still be streamed, and a recording of the disputation will be available for 24 hours.
Populærvitenskapelig sammendrag av avhandlingen:
Child behavioral and emotional problems in Nepal
Worldwide mental health problems are the leading cause of disability. Half of all mental health problems start before the age of fourteen years. Mental health problems in children can affect their development, their school performance, and an ability to live a normal life. The number of the mental health problems and their effect on persons’ life can be reduced if they are recognized early and treatment is started timely.
Nepal has a population of about 30 million people and 40% of these populations are children and adolescents less than 18 years of age. Yet, we do not know the number of children suffering from mental health problems in Nepal. This is mainly because of the lack of large-scale study on mental health of children and adolescents in Nepal. However, some smaller studies have shown that mental health problems in children are as high as in other countries of the world.
For the first time, we conducted a large scale study in Nepal. In this study we wanted to find the total number of children and adolescent suffering from any kind of emotional and behavioral problems in Nepal. And our initial finding showed that 19.1 % of children had some form of emotional and behavioral problems as reported by parents and 15.4% as reported by teachers. Our study confirms that the number of mental health problems in Nepal is as high as in the Western countries. Similar to other parts of the world, we found that boys had more emotional and behavioral problems than girls. The study was conducted as the part of the PhD project of Dr. Jasmine Ma, a Nepalese psychiatrist at Kanti Children’s Hospital and a PhD scholar at the Arctic University of Norway, Tromso, Norway. The financial support for the study was provided by the Solidarity Action for Development, Norway FORUT through the Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN).
We selected a total of 3840 children from 6 to 18 years of age from different schools from various parts of Nepal. This includes children living in three major geographical regions, Northern Mountain region, Middle Hilly region and the Southern Plain region. We took permission from the Ethical Review Board of the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) and Ministry of Education to undertake this study. The study was done from September 2017 to June 2018. We used Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) instrument to collect the information about child emotional and behavioural problems. We also collected information about the child separately in a background questionnaire. We used the Nepali version of Child Behaviour Checklist/6-18 parent version and Teacher Report form/6-18 of the ASEBA instrument. This instrument has 112 questions and is considered a good tool to measure emotional and behavioural problems.
The result of our study suggests that there is a massive need to support the mental health of children and adolescents in Nepal. The high number of mental health problems among children and adolescents in Nepal is possibly explained by numerous risk factors. More than 4 million Nepalese have migrated to other countries in the search for job which has resulted in family separation, affecting child rearing and the emotional support. The migration of people from rural areas to the urban setting have resulted in unplanned urbanization increasing the urban poverty, crowded settlements and income inequality. The country is still recovering from the devastating Earthquake in 2015. The situation is likely to get worse in coming days as the country has now been hit hard by the COVID 19 pandemic forcing the closure of schools and the children having to stay at home.
Despite the huge needs, the mental health service is limited in Nepal. Nonetheless, Nepal has made major progress over the last few years, in terms of improved health status and living standards of the population.
Now, time has come to increase the investment in mental health of children and adolescents specifically. The mental health service for children and adolescents needs to be expanded. Awareness about mental health problems in children should be raised. People should be informed that mental health problems can occur in children too. Early recognition and treatment of mental health problems of children will help to reduce the burden of mental health problems in adulthood too.
Førsteamanuensis Anne Cecilie Javo, SANKS, Sámi Klinihkka, Karasjok, Norway
Førsteamuensis Per Håkan Brøndbo, Institutt for psykologi, UiT Norges arktiske universitet
ph.d. Pashupati Mahata (Centre for mental health training and counselling) Kathmandu, Nepal
Professor Leif Andre Sourander, Department of child Psychiatry, University of Turku - 1. opponent.
ph.d. Kristina Carlén, School of health sciences and the department in public health, University of Skövde, Sweden. - 2. opponent.
Professor Roman Koposov, RKBU Nord, UiT Norges arktiske universitet – leder av komité.
Disputasleder: professor Monica Martinussen, RKBU Nord, Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, UiT Norges arktiske universitet