Mental health problems are relevant for every country. They are particularly important for low-income countries which face a high burden of illness due to infectious disease, greater socio-economic disparities, and have limited resources for mental health care. There is a great mismatch in the areas of mental health research, practice, policy and services in comparison to developed countries. There have been a few studies that have investigated major mental health problems prevailing in these countries but missed out significant health problems. Studies have tended to be more donor driven and conducted in tertiary centres. The low priority accorded to mental health by the policy makers, scarcity of human resources, lack of culture-specific study instruments, lack of support from scientific journals have been some of the impediments to mental health research in these countries. In addition, lack of community participation and absence of sound mental health policies have deprived the vast majority of the benefit of modern psychiatric treatments. Recently, with increase in collaboration in research, availability of treatment including low- priced psychotropics, and a growing emphasis on the need for mental health policy in some low-income countries, the bleak scenario is expected to change.