The interplay between need and response: an ethnographic multi-stakeholder response analysis to mental distress in post-disaster urban Nepal

Year of award: 2016


  • Pia Noel

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

Humanitarian efforts and resources regarding mental health needs post-disasters are largely spent on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) despite the lack of agreement on this diagnosis and the usefulness of these efforts. There has been little work looking at the relationship between mental health care needs and responses. I will explore the different responses to the mental health needs of the population in post-disaster urban Nepal and the interplay between needs and responses. 

The humanitarian and family/community contexts will be studied ethnographically during 12 months of fieldwork in Lalitpur, Nepal. I will use semi-structured interviews, focus groups, case studies and free-listing to elucidate points of convergence and divergence in the conceptualisation of mental distress among different people. 

I hope to inform policy and provide suggestions for service delivery that could lead to more meaningful outcomes and help avoid inappropriate, wasteful and/or harmful ways of addressing mental distress.