Mental health–related structural stigma and discrimination in health and social policies in Nepal: A scoping review and synthesis

Dristy Gurung, Mani Neupane, Kalpana Bhattarai, Binita Acharya, Niko Chandra Gautam, Kamal Gautam, Suraj Koirala, Kedar Marahatta, Pratima Gurung, Khim Bahadur Khadka, Brandon A Kohrt, Graham Thornicroft, Petra Gronholm

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


AIMS: National policies can be used to reveal structural stigma and discrimination in relation to mental health. This review assesses how structural stigma and discrimination are manifested in the policies and legislations of Government of Nepal. METHODS: Scoping review methodology was followed to review policy documents (acts of parliament, legislation, policies, strategies, guidelines and official directives) drafted or amended after 2010. RESULTS: Eighty-nine policies were identified related to health, social welfare, development and regulations which were relevant to people with psychosocial and mental disabilities or have addressed the mental health agendas. Several critical policy failings and gaps are revealed, such as the use of stigmatizing language (e.g., 'insane' or 'lunatic'), inconsistencies within and between policies, deviation from international protocols defining legal capacity and consent, lack of inclusion of the mental health agenda in larger development policies and lack of cost-effective interventions and identification of financing mechanisms. Provisions for people living with mental health conditions included adequate standard of living; attaining standard mental health; the right to exercise legal capacity, liberty and security; freedom from torture or discrimination; and right to live independently. However, other policies contradicted these rights, such as prohibiting marriage, candidacy for and retention of positions of authority and vulnerability to imprisonment. CONCLUSION: Mental health-related structural stigma and discrimination in Nepal can be identified through the use of discriminator language and provisions in the policies. The structural stigma and discrimination may be addressed through revision of the discriminating policies, integrating the mental health agenda into larger national and provincial policies, and streamlining policies to comply with national and international protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e70
JournalEpidemiology And Psychiatric Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2023


  • discrimination
  • structural stigma
  • mental health
  • Nepal
  • Policy review


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