The Keshav Desiraju IMHO is a repository of data and information on mental health laws, policies & services to promote evidence-based policy making and bridge systemic gaps for advancing mental health in India. The Keshav Desiraju IMHO’s mission is to improve mental health outcomes by facilitating equitable, accessible, affordable, quality and rights-based mental healthcare in India.

Why Keshav Desiraju IMHO?

There are several disparities in India’s mental health system that can be attributed to a range of systemic gaps ranging from a dearth of trained personnel, negligible budgetary allocations to lack of adequate infrastructure. To address these gaps there is a need for accurate information, data, and research on the mental health system, which needs to be made easily available in the public domain. However, at present, there is a lack of adequate datasets in India which can provide credible, accessible and updated data on India’s mental health system. Therefore, the Keshav Desiraju India Mental Health Observatory (Keshav Desiraju IMHO) was established as a repository to address the gaps in availability of data and information on different components of the mental health system.

How are we addressing the issue?

The overall objective of the Keshav Desiraju IMHO 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. In particular, the main activities of the Keshav Desiraju IMHO include the following:

    1. Assessing existing mental health laws, policies, and programmes and reviewing their implementation at a national, state and district level.
    2. Evaluating budgetary allocations and utilisation of funds for mental health at the national, state and district level.
    3. Supporting policymakers at the state and national level for evidence-based policymaking.
    4. Developing a network of collaborators including policymakers, civil society organisations, mental health professionals, service users, caregivers, researchers, media, funding organizations and other stakeholders for monitoring, evaluating and disseminating data on the mental health system.
    5. Tracking media reporting of suicides to encourage responsible reporting in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on media reporting of suicides.

The Keshav Desiraju IMHO will disseminate data, information and analyses through a range of open-access publications such as policy briefs, budget briefs, issue briefs, reports, papers and open-access repositories.

For more details, visit the Keshav Desiraju IMHO’s website.

What is the potential impact?

Through the Keshav Desiraju IMHO, we aim to achieve the following:

  • Enable access to mental health information and data for diverse stakeholders through its open access publications and repositories.
  • Develop a collaborative hub by engaging diverse stakeholders for collecting, processing, analysing, interpreting and disseminating data, information and research on India’s mental health system.
  • Influence public discourse, media, policy makers and professionals through Keshav Desiraju IMHO’s insights and analyses.
  • Influence evidence-based policy making for mental health in India.
Where have we reached?

The Keshav Desiraju IMHO has implemented a new initiative titled Project SIREN: Suicide Reporting India Watch which is tracking media reporting of suicides by leading online English newspapers & news journals through a media reporting scorecard. Project SIREN has launched three editions of the scorecard for three quarters so far. For more details, visit Project SIREN’s website.

The Keshav Desiraju IMHO has also developed policy briefs, issue briefs and budget briefs on the District Mental Health Programme & Union Budget for Mental Health (2021-22). We are also actively engaging with different Members of Parliament to promote evidence-based policy making on mental health and suicide prevention in India.