Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int Rev Psychiatry. 2004 Feb-May;16(1-2):126-41.

India mental health country profile.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


India, the second most populated country of the world with a population of 1.027 billion, is a country of contrasts. It is characterized as one of the world's largest industrial nations, yet most of the negative characteristics of poor and developing countries define India too. The population is predominantly rural, and 36% of people still live below poverty line. There is a continuous migration of rural people into urban slums creating major health and economic problems. India is one of the pioneer countries in health services planning with a focus on primary health care. Improvement in the health status of the population has been one of the major thrust areas for social development programmes in the country. However, only a small percentage of the total annual budget is spent on health. Mental health is part of the general health services, and carries no separate budget. The National Mental Health Programme serves practically as the mental health policy. Recently, there was an eight-fold increase in budget allocation for the National Mental Health Programme for the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-2007). India is a multicultural traditional society where people visit religious and traditional healers for general and mental health related problems. However, wherever modern health services are available, people do come forward. India has a number of public policy and judicial enactments, which may impact on mental health. These have tried to address the issues of stigma attached to the mental illnesses and the rights of mentally ill people in society. A large number of epidemiological surveys done in India on mental disorders have demonstrated the prevalence of mental morbidity in rural and urban areas of the country; these rates are comparable to global rates. Although India is well placed as far as trained manpower in general health services is concerned, the mental health trained personnel are quite limited, and these are mostly based in urban areas. Considering this, development of mental health services has been linked with general health services and primary health care. Training opportunities for various kinds of mental health personnel are gradually increasing in various academic institutions in the country and recently, there has been a major initiative in the growth of private psychiatric services to fill a vacuum that the public mental health services have been slow to address. A number of non-governmental organizations have also initiated activities related to rehabilitation programmes, human rights of mentally ill people, and school mental health programmes. Despite all these efforts and progress, a lot has still to be done towards all aspects of mental health care in India in respect of training, research, and provision of clinical services to promote mental health in all sections of society.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Support Center