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Pratik Adhikary, MA, MPH, PhD

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GHES LMIC Fellow 2019-2020

FELLOWSHIP SITE: Institute for Social and Environmental Research, Nepal (ISER-N)
U.S. INSTITUTION: UNIVERSITY of California, Berkeley

Project Title: Labour Out-Migration and Mental Health in Nepal

Labour out-migration from low and middle income countries (LMICs) to high income countries (HCs) has become one of the important household livelihood strategies in recent decades. Thus, understanding the consequences of massive out-migration for sending communities has become one of the high priority research and policy agenda and has drawn great attention from both the academia and policy arena. As a result a large body of literature has documented important economic consequences of labour out-migration for the communities and families at place of origin. Another stream of research focused on migrants’ physical health and refers migrants as “harbingers of disease”.  

Moreover, physical separation from their family, community and social networks, and exposure to new social environment along with long working hours, harsh working and poor living conditions generally result into highly stressful daily life. Previous research has documented strong association between stress and mental health.  Despite the fact that migration is highly stressful that has important psychological consequences, little attention has been given to investigation of the relationship between migration experience and mental health in Nepal.

This study aims to fill this important gap in the literature. More specifically, by employing mixed methods data collection strategy, this study aims to answer three specific research question: 1) to what extent migrants and non-migrants differ in prevalence of three the most common mental health disorders – Major depressive disorder, General anxiety disorder and Alcohol use disorders; 2) to what extent migrants and non-migrant differ in treatment seeking behavior; and 3) identify the challenges and barriers of mental health services use.  

The study will use previously validated Nepali version of WHO’s Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) questionnaire and the Institute for Social and Environment Nepal’s extensive research experience on survey data collection.