The Keshav Desiraju IMHO is an open-access 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. Our 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 the lack of adequate infrastructure. To address these gaps, there is a need for accurate information, data, and research on the mental health system, that is easily available in the public domain. The Keshav Desiraju India Mental Health Observatory (Keshav Desiraju IMHO) was established as a repository to address these 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. Our main activities 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.

We at the Keshav Desiraju IMHO 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 dashboards.

For more details, visit our website.

What is the potential impact?

We at the Keshav Desiraju IMHO aim to achieve the following:

  • Enable access to mental health information and data for diverse stakeholders through 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 our insights and analyses.
  • Evidence-based policy making for mental health in India.
Where have we reached?

We at the Keshav Desiraju IMHO have developed several publications that include policy briefs, issue briefs & budget briefs on the District Mental Health Programme, the Union Budget for Mental Health, Insurance Coverage for Mental Illness, etc. You may access all our publications here.

We actively engage with different stakeholders to promote evidence-based policy making on mental health & suicide prevention in India. In September 2020, we launched Project SIREN: Suicide Reporting India Watch, an initiative to track media reporting of suicides by analysing leading English newspapers & online publications, using a media reporting scorecard. We publish these details on Project SIREN’s website, every quarter.

The Keshav Desiraju IMHO has also launched a on ‘Mental illness coverage among health insurance providers’ to assess the extent to which insurance policies have complied with Section 21(4) of the MHCA, 2017. You may access the dashboard, here.

To learn more about the Keshav Desiraju IMHO and read all our publications, please visit our website.



Project Leads


Soumitra Pathare, Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, ILS, Pune.


Arjun Kapoor, Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, ILS, Pune.