Mental health of female spouses of Nepalese labour migrants

Summary: Mental health of female spouses of Nepalese labour migrants (completed)

Background and aims: International labour migrant workers from Nepal have grown substantially in the recent years. Currently, an approximately 4 million Nepalese, over 90% are male, are working abroad, primarily in Malaysia, the Middle East and India. Nepalese migrant workers send over US$4 billion back home every year, comprising 28% of Nepal’s gross domestic product (1). However, this income is often generated at a great personal cost to the labour migrants and left behinds. Studies about South Asian migrant workers consistently report a poor mental health (e.g., high prevalence of depression) among this population (2). Yet, despite the monetary benefits to migrants and their families, little is known about mental health outcomes of their spouses not only in Nepal or in Asia but also in the global context. Female spouses have to face with the circumstances that may pose them to the risk of poor mental health. For example, they may feel isolated in the absence of emotional support and care of their husbands. In addition, they may also have to take responsibility in providing care for children and other members of left-behind families. These shifted responsibilities from husbands to wives with their regular household work may make their life more vulnerable to poor mental health. However, there remains a scarcity of studies on this issue despite Nepal being an ever-growing international labour migration market.
Against this background, we wish to: a) explore the impact of labour migration on mental health and wellbeing of female spouses of male labour migrant workers; b) how these left-behinds seek mental health services when they are in the need; and, c) what are the challenges and barriers to seek mental health services by the female spouses of Nepalese labour migrants.

Related publication: Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Trenoweth, S., Adhikary, P. and Simkhada, P., 2020 The impact of spousal migration on the mental health of nepali women: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (4)

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