Ensuring mental wellbeing in Bhutan

The Covid pandemic may continue to evolve but trends indicate that most of the world has decided to surmount the crisis mode and move on. This is particularly relevant for Bhutan which is already in an era of major transformation and reform to focus on building a 21st century nation for future generations. This evolution promises to be historic but the reality is that the challenges to human existence will also continue to evolve.

The pandemic is one of numerous impediments that has and will continue to aggravate and threaten the process of human development. Climate change is now a threat of overpowering proportions; so are the relatively new complexities of technology including social media and the age-old challenges like violence and conflict, inequities and discrimination, and health hazards created by human lifestyle itself.

Globally one in eight, or 970 million people, suffer from a mental health disorder, with 224 million children in depression. Six out of seven people are insecure ( according to the UNDP). Mental distress affects human development in many ways, also leading to mental disorders associated with poor performance in education or work, poverty, premature mortality, disability and poor overall health. The stigma that often accompanies mental disorders makes matters worse. And when personal relationships suffer, people are left isolated and vulnerable.
Another unfortunate impact of mental health problems is that poor countries suffer the most and the vulnerable – women, children, and the elderly – are most affected. Low- income people, especially those who struggle to afford basic needs such as rent and food, suffer disproportionately in several countries. Even as mental health issues are recognised as the leading cause of disability and economic distress, countries, on average, spend less than two percent of their health care budgets on mental health.

UNDP’s 2022 Human Development Report, Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives, explores how inequalities in human development are perpetuated across generations, how the confluence of mental distress, inequality, and insecurity foment an injurious intergenerational cycle that drags on human development.

The Spring, 2023, issue of The Druk Journal looks at the need to create a more resilient society by adopting human well-being as the long-term answer to past, present, and future threats. Bhutan became concerned about mental health in recent years, with society dealing with an entire range of problems, from cretinism, which was common in the past, to the more recent disorders related to digital addiction and social media.

Among Bhutanese youth substance abuse and violence, both physical and cyberbullying – is a driver of mental distress, sometimes leading to self-harm. Behind what ought to be the safe walls of a home, a growing number of vulnerable people are subjected to domestic abuse with either the perception or the reality of no escape. The Covid-19 pandemic, with quarantine regulations and lockdowns, was illustrative.

The articles in this issue of the journal will focus on the impact of environmental, economic, and social challenges, especially at the growing violent, abusive, discriminatory, and addictive behaviour leading to depression, anxiety, disruption of life on a debilitating scale.
This issue will highlight the impact of these trends, encourage thought and discussion on their urgency, and offer possible answers and responses that are needed today.


We call for contributions to the next issue of the Druk Journal on the theme Ensuring mental wellbeing in Bhutan

  1. Synopsis: Submit before 20 Dec. 2022 – Submit your concept or synopsis (one or two paragraphs) to the editor, which will be reviewed, and sent back to the writer with feedback.
  2. First Draft: Start writing the first draft after receiving the synopsis review. Submit the first draft before 23thJan., 2023 to the editor. Early drafts will have the advantage of more detailed comments. The editor reviews the first draft and sends it back to the writer for further improvement.
  3. Final Draft: The writer finalises the article with necessary editorial inputs and changes and submits it to the editor for final editing by 23tth Feb. 2023.
  4. Word Limit: 1,000-3,000 words (For research articles can go up to 4,500 words)
  5. Font: Adobe Caslon Pro

Note: Refer to our style guide thoroughly before writing to orient with the writing style of The Druk Journal.

Style Guide

The Druk Journal (TDJ) Style Guide
1. The structure of the journal

  •  The Theme: Each issue of TDJ will carry a theme that is contemporary, relevant, and important for Bhutan and Bhutanese society. It will be a journal of analytical, thought-provoking articles (between 1,500 and 3,000 words) looking at the theme from different perspectives. The length of research articles can be longer and determined in consultation with the editor.
  • Each issue will contain a mix of approaches to the theme: a section of serious articles on the theme; articles looking at similar issues in other countries; interviews and book reviews on the theme.

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