Historicizing the Emergence of Global Mental Health in Nepal (1950-2019)


  • Aidan Seale-Feldman




critical global health, global mental health, psychiatry, development, Nepal


This article traces a genealogy of mental health governance in Nepal as it was constituted in and through an assemblage of historical events, local politics, personal relationships and trends in the field of global health development. The relation between health development and local politics in Nepal is explored across four periods in the history of global health: 1) the early health development programs of disease eradication after the end of the Rana oligarchy (1951-1970); 2) the turn to primary health care during the Panchayat (1970-1990); 3) the rise of NGOs and the People’s War (1990-2010); and 4) the return to health systems development in the post-conflict/post-earthquake period (2010-present). By drawing on a combination of archival research and a cross-disciplinary review of the literature on global mental health, this article tracks the changing projects of mental health development programs in Nepal over the past century. In doing so, it becomes possible to observe the shifting trends in the problematization of mental health and the management of psychic life in Nepal from 1950 to the emergence of global mental health.




How to Cite

Seale-Feldman, A. (2020). Historicizing the Emergence of Global Mental Health in Nepal (1950-2019). HIMALAYA - The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, 39(2), 29–43. https://doi.org/10.2218/himalaya.2019.7849



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