Mental Health Programme in India: Has the tide really turned?

B. N. Gangadhar, Channaveerachari Naveen Kumar, Kamaldeep Sadh, Narayana Manjunatha, Suresh Bada Math, Rakesh Chander Kalaivanan, Girish N. Rao, Rajani Parthasarathy, Prabhat K. Chand, Prabha S. Chandra, Jagadisha Thirthalli, Pratima Murthy, Mathew Varghese, Alok Mathur, Bhavya K. Bairy, Chethana Kishore, Guru S. Gowda, Vinay Basvaraju, Shashidhara Nagabhushana Harihara, Mohan K. IsaacS. K. Chaturvedi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Mental disorders in India form a major public health concern and the efforts to tackle these dates back to four decades, by way of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) and its operational arm, the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP). Although the progress of NMHP (and DMHP) was relatively slower till recently, the last 4-5 years have seen rapid strides with several initiatives, including (i) expansion of DMHPs to 90 per cent of the total districts of the country, (ii) the National Mental Health Policy and (iii) strengthening the Mental Health Legislation by way of providing explicit provisions for rights of persons with mental illnesses. Among others, factors responsible for this accelerated growth include the easily accessible digital technology as well as judicial activism. Federal and State cooperation is another notable feature of this expansion. In this review, the authors summarize the available information on the evolution of implementation and research aspects related to India's NMHP over the years and provide a case for the positive turn of events witnessed in the recent years. However, the authors caution that these are still baby steps and much more remains to be done.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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