Mental health cases still underreported

The 36-year-old woman from Phanas in Mongar who was admitted for mental health problems at the Mongar regional referral hospital (MRRH) was discharged from the hospital on June 24 after her relatives insisted on taking her home.

Health secretary, Dr Ugen Dophu, said Tshering Lhamo’s condition has improved. “The ministry had instructed the health staff at the BHU in Nagtsang, Mongar to personally give her medicine everyday.”

Tshering Lhamo was brought to MRRH on June 12 after Dr Ugen Dophu instructed the MRRH officials to send an ambulance to bring her to the hospital following a report on her condition in Phanas village.

The health ministry is also working on writing to all the dzongdags across the country to trace patients suffering from mental and behavioural disorders and to bring them for treatment.

Dr Ugen Dophu said the community and family members of those with mental and behavioural disorders could help them in addressing the social needs while the health ministry will help assist in providing healthcare services.

Of the total 24,257 patients reported to health facilities for having mental and behavioural disorders in the last five years, anxiety is the most common mental disorders at 7,194, according to the latest annual health bulletin.

In the last five years, 16 people died of ‘other mental and behavioural disorders,’ of which eight died from mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol.

Those who have mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol is the second highest at 3,831 followed by depression at 3,666. A total of 6,687 people visited health facilities for other mental disorders, according to the health bulletin.


About 1,089 people with other mental disorders were recorded in 2012, after which the number declined to 129 in 2014. It again increased to 1,723 last year.

The number of people with anxiety increased by about three times at 2,141 last year from 729 in 2012. The health facilities saw the highest number of people with anxiety in 2014 at 2,146.

Similarly, the number of psychosis increased from 94 in 2012 to 318 last year. The psychosis patients steadily increased for the last four years and then declined last year.

According to the latest health bulletin, people living with depression increased from 559 in 2012 to 1,044 in 2014, the highest recorded so far after which the number declined to 743 last year.

Likewise, in 2014, health facilities reported the highest number of people with mental and behavioural disorders due to multiple drug use and other use of psychoactive substances at 447.

The health facilities did not report any dementia cases until last year. The health sector saw about 21 cases of people suffering from Dementia last year.

The number of people with mental and behavioural disorders may be higher than the number reported in the health bulletin as people hesitate to come forward to avail the clinical services to treat mental health patients because of the stigma attached to mental health.

Dechen Tshomo

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