Every year around 1000 Nepali migrant workers die abroad. Every one in three females and one in ten males commit suicide, reflecting a high mental health risk among Nepali migrant workers. This study aims to identify triggers of mental ill-health among Nepali migrant workers and their perceptions on the need of mental health components in the pre-departure orientation programme. We conducted five focus group discussions (FGD) and seven in-depth interviews with Nepali migrant workers and eight semi-structured interviews with stakeholders working for migrants. Participants were invited at Kathmandu’s international airport on return from abroad, at hotels or bus stations near the airport, through organisations working for migrants, and participants’ network. All FGD and interviews were conducted in Kathmandu and audio recorded, transcribed and translated into English. Data were analyzed thematically. High expectations from families back home, an unfair treatment at work, poor arrangements of accommodation, loneliness and poor social life abroad were frequently reported factors for poor mental health. Access to mental health services abroad by Nepali migrant was also poor. We found little on mental health in the pre-departure orientation. We need to improve our knowledge of mental health risks to provide better, more focused and more up-to-date pre-departure training to new migrant workers leaving Nepal.