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Deliberation on Review Report on Mental Health Issues and Suicide in Bhutan

Posted on :10 December 2021

Deliberation on Review Report on Mental Health Issues and Suicide in Bhutan 

In the 11th Sitting, the Members of the Social and Cultural Affairs Committee (SCAC) presented the review report on Mental Health Issues and Suicide in Bhutan to the House today. 

Hon’ble Lhaki Dolma, Chairperson of SCAC  stated that the review is based on the mandate prescribed in the Constitution of Bhutan and the National Council Act. She also reported that the National Council identified mental health issues and suicides as an important national issue during the workshop on “Developing a Strategic Roadmap for the 3rd National Council (2018-2023)”. 

The Committee in the 27th Session of the National Council presented an interim report to the House and was entrusted with the review work respectively. 

Highlighting on Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen’s address on mental health disorders and suicide cases in the country on November 3, 2021, she also reported there was an increase in the cases recorded by concerned agencies and Ministries. She said that the aim of the report is not only to understand the causes of the increasing mental disorders and suicides, but to also create awareness and eliminate the stigma surrounding the issues. She also outlined three objectives of the review report which is to identify and review relevant legislation and policies; consult experts, officials and vulnerable groups of society; and assess the effectiveness of current programs and submit recommendations. 

She elaborated on the various consultative meetings conducted by the Committee with various stakeholders, CSOs, Ministries, agencies, Dzongkhags and institutions alike. 

Hon’ble Member Ugyen Namgay while presenting the findings of the review report, reported on the data collected and analysis of mental disorder and suicide cases in Bhutan. He reported that from 2016 till October, 2021 - 36,608 mental disorders and 539 suicide cases were documented, of which 43% were farmers and home-makers; 15.37% were students; and about 7.7% were unemployed. Another 7.59% of the total suicide cases were among employees of the private sector. He also stated that while causes of suicide were not known for majority of the cases, significant numbers were due to anxiety or depression (14.74%), unhealthy family relationships (14.53%), and alcohol abuse (10.47%). He also presented  the current measures on mental health services and prevention of suicide; vulnerable groups; and media campaigns and influence on suicide.

Hon’ble Member Sonam Pelzom, Deputy Chairperson shared the observation and recommendations of the review report. She reported on the magnitude and burden of the mental health disorder and suicides; economic burden of the mental health disorders; and the impact of the pandemic on mental health.

Deliberating on the recommendations proposed by the Committee, the Hon’ble Members shared their views and suggested  additional recommendations. The House reverted the recommendations back to the Committee with the directive to prepare the final recommendations taking into account all the suggestions of the members. 

The House will  adopt the final recommendations  on Monday 13, December 2021.

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