Mental health promotion is frequently overlooked as an integral part of health promotion since its one of the most complex and demanding areas of nursing in developing countries. At least one in three people is thought to suffer some form of mental health problem. (Jenkins ym 2011.) Among most people, mental illness is as a result of the crisis they suffer in life or in the day to day experiences which they can’t cope with (Seedat ym 2008). There is quite a wide range of mental health conditions in developing countries, these include:- neuroses, psychoses, psychological and personality disorders, political instabilities effects like after war trauma, eating disorders and substance misuse (Barley ym 2016).

Modern mental health nursing requires a lot of knowledge, experience and competence, in developing countries. Nurses need effective communication skills, a caring and compassionate nature as well as respect for the dignity and safety of others. Even though in developing countries they take dignity as important as possible, it is the opposite for mental health patients in some countries. (Adejumo et al 2001, 223).

Mental health is generally described as a situation where individuals discover their ability, can perform normal daily tasks in a productive manner, and they are able to make positive changes to the communities they live in and their surroundings (WHO 2001a, 1). It is of great concern that in practice, mental health promotion is frequently overlooked in health promotion programs especially in developing countries, although the World Health Organisation defines mental health as an integral part of health. It is suggested that more attention should be given to addressing the determinants of mental health in terms of protective and risk factors for both physical and mental conditions among individuals, particularly in developing countries. (WHO, 2005).

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease of infirmity” (WHO 2001, 1). The World Health Organisation further defines health promotion as “actions that support people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles and which create supportive living conditions or environments for health (WHO 2005).

Mental health is also defined as a state of well-being where an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her own community (Lal ym 2014). Other definitions of mental health refer to the individual’s subjective feelings of well-being, optimism and mastery, the concepts of ‘resilience’ or the ability to deal with adversity, and the capacity to be able to form and maintain meaningful relationships(Jansen ym 2015). A developing country can also be referred to as a Less Developed Country (LDC) or an under developed country. There are a series of definitions for a developing country though there are no agreed criteria used to define the above. This is usually a country with an industrial base that is developing at a gradual rate.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is low as is compared to other countries. These countries are usually in the process of transformation from their old traditional lifestyles moving towards the modern lifestyle that began in the 18th and 19th century as a result of the industrial revolution. A developing country is often characterized by having people with a lower life expectancy rate, the education levels and literacy rates are low, and people’s income levels are very low usually below the poverty line.