Balancing traditional beliefs and medical science: mental health care in Bhutan

  • Damber K. Nirola Department of Psychiatry, JDWNR Hospital, Thimphu, Bhutan.
  • Judith C. Durham University of Saint Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT, USA.
  • Kurt L. Kraus Department of Counseling and College Student Personnel, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania,USA.
Keywords: Mental health; Mental illnesses; Public health; Stigma.


In the Kingdom where Gross National Happiness is the most precious commodity, there is a growing awareness of
the individual and communal toll that unmet mental health needs bring to bear on Bhutanese society. Even though
mental illnesses are becoming public health issue, there is a tendency to neglect the care of mentally ill person in the
general setting. The reason for the neglect is due to lack of understanding and poor management of mental illness by
the health professionals and community at large. This article emphasizes the need to balance the traditional beliefs
and medical science in order to provide a comprehensive mental health care in Bhutan.


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