Keshav Desiraju India Mental Health Observatory is an open-access repository of data and information on mental health laws, policies & services.

Who We Are

We are built in collaboration with various stakeholders to promote evidence-based policymaking and to bridge systemic gaps for advancing mental health in India. The stakeholders represent a range of groups including policymakers, civil society organisations, mental health professionals, service users, caregivers, researchers, media, funding organizations and others.


Our overall objective is to create a collaborative mechanism by engaging with a range of stakeholders to collect, collate and disseminate data, metrics and research on mental health laws, policies and services at the national, state and district level. Specific objectives are as follows:
  1. To support governments in the implementation of international and domestic laws and policies for mental health at the national, state and district level in India.
  2. To evaluate budgetary allocations and expenditure for mental health services based on demand indicators.
  3. To develop rights-based quantitative and qualitative indicators for evaluating mental health services based on parameters such as quality, quantity, affordability, accessibility and cultural appropriateness.
  4. To develop a network of collaborators and partners for monitoring, evaluating and disseminating data on the mental health system.

What We Do

Our work covers a variety of thematic areas:
  1. Laws, Policies & Programmes: At the IMHO, we intend to understand the implementation status of laws, policies, and programmes at both a national and state level. At a national level, these include the National Mental Health Policy, 2014, Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, and Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and the National Mental Health Programme.
  2. Suicide Prevention: Suicide in India is major public health concern. The IMHO recognises that very few interventions are available that address suicide prevention using an inter-sectoral approach. Through Project SIREN, the IMHO aims to encourage media to responsibly report on suicide and be an ally in suicide prevention.
  3. Mental Health Services & Facilities: The infrastructure for mental health services in the country is inadequate to meet the demand for services. The IMHO plans to assess the different categories of mental health services and facilities in each state and identify their service gaps.
  4. Rights & Structural Determinants: At the core of the work of the IMHO is an understanding of mental health through a human rights-based approach, using national and international human rights standards and frameworks. We intend to shed light on rights violations and deficiencies in services for mental health across states in India and bring attention to how inequities are rooted in structures.
  5. Human Resources: There is a dearth of mental health professionals in India. The National Mental Health Survey, 2016 showed that all states in India, barring Kerala, have less than 1 psychiatrist and 1 clinical psychologist per 100,000 persons. The IMHO intends to conduct research and analysis on this lacuna in human resources.
  6. Monitoring & Research: At present, there exist very few data sources which specifically provide information on the status of implementation of laws, policies and programmes pertaining to mental disabilities in India and no single source of this information. The IMHO intends to focus on its role as an observatory, monitoring issues around mental health to inform evidence-based policy making.
  7. Budgets & Financial Protection: The IMHO aims to analyse trends in budget allocations and expenditure for mental health in the Union Budget as well state budgets. Another key focus area of the IMHO is to understand financial protection around mental health which includes insurance and other financial security schemes.

Meet the Team

The Secretariat comprises of researchers from diverse backgrounds ranging from social work and psychology to financial management and public policy. Meet our Secretariat