Mental health risk factors in Nepalese labour migrant workers

Summary: Mental health risk factors in Nepalese labor migrant workers and their perceptions of potential elements on mental health needed in pre-departure training (completed)

Goal: Nepal has the seventh-highest suicide rate in the world, with an estimated 6,840 suicides annually (25 per 100,000 people). There is also strong evidence that South Asian migrant workers in the Middle East, including Nepalese, have exceedingly higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide than local populations. For example, a study in Saudi Arab reported that labour migrant workers and housemaids comprised more than 80% cases of suicide in a five-year period. Studies in the Middle East report a high prevalence of depression (20-25%) among migrant workers (mainly South Asians). Physically intensive work, lack of sleep, long working hours, exploitation, etc. are possible factors triggering mental health problems in labor migrant populations. The prevalence of suicide among Nepalese migrant workers warrants further investigation, especially considering the increasing number of male labor migrants traveling abroad for foreign employment. Although pre-departure orientation is mandatory for Nepalese labor migrant workers, it does not include any mental health component. Hence currently, there is no mental health screening for aspiring Nepalese migrant workers prior to their departure. Understanding risk factors for poor mental health, suicide ideation and behaviors will help facilitate incorporating mental health screening and mental health components in the pre-departure orientation curricula and supporting activities with destination countries. Therefore, this qualitative study aims to:
• explore the views and perceptions of recent/current labor migrant workers on risk factors for mental health problems in destination countries;
• identify the need for pre-departure training around mental health issues and their perceptions of potential elements;
• identify the support mechanism for mental health and counseling services available in the workplace, and explore potential challenges for an effective pre-departure package on mental health

Related publication:

Regmi, P.R., Aryal, N., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. and Adhikary, P., 2020 Nepali Migrant Workers and the Need for Pre-departure Training on Mental Health: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 22 (5), 973-981

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