Thematic Areas

Laws, Policies & Programmes

The mental health policy, legislative and programmatic landscape in the India. At a national level, it consists of the National Mental Health Policy, 2014, Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, and Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and the National Mental Health Programme, which includes the District Mental Health Programmes. At the IMHO, we intend to understand the implementation status of these laws, policies, and programmes at both a national and state level.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide in India is major public health concern with over 1.39 lakh individuals dying by suicide in 2019, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. The IMHO recognizes 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.

Mental health services & facilities

The infrastructure for mental health services in the country is inadequate to meet the demand for services. Moreover, mental health facilities are frequently criticized for their poor conditions and inability to meet minimum quality standards. The IMHO plans to assess the different categories of mental health services and facilities in each state and identify their service gaps.

Rights and 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 to conceptualize our work. 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.

Human Resources

There are 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, significantly lower than the requirement. The IMHO intends to conduct research and analysis on this lacuna in human resources.

Monitoring and 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. At the core of its work, the IMHO intends to focus on its role as an observatory and thus, monitoring and research of issues around mental health to inform evidence-based policy making.

Budgets and Financial Protection

In the latest fiscal year, 2021-22, only 0.81% of the total expenditure budget allocated to the Ministry of Health and Family was toward mental health. 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.