The Keshav Desiraju IMHO is an open-access repository of data and information on mental health laws, policies and 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 i) equitable, ii) accessible, iii) affordable, iv) quality, and v) rights-based mental healthcare in India.

Why Keshav Desiraju IMHO?

There are several disparities in India’s mental health system. These can be attributed to 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 diverse stakeholders.

We collect and disseminate data and research on the mental health system at a national, state and district level.

Main activities:

  1. Assess existing laws, policies, and programmes related to mental health and suicide prevention and review their implementation.
  2. Evaluate budgetary allocations and utilisation of funds for mental health at the national, state and district level.
  3. Support policymakers at the state and national level for evidence-based policymaking and programme implementation.
  4. Develop a network of collaborators including policymakers, civil society organisations, mental health professionals, service users, caregivers, researchers, media, funding organisations and other stakeholders for monitoring, evaluating, and disseminating data on the mental health system.

We 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. You may access all our publications here.

For more details on the Keshav Desiraju IMHO, visit our website.

What is the potential impact?
  • Improve access to data on the mental health system in India
  • Support the prioritisation of evidence-based policymaking for mental health and suicide prevention in India
  • Ensure laws, policies and programmes on mental health and suicide prevention are implemented through a rights-based and intersectoral lens
Where have we reached?

We at the Keshav Desiraju IMHO have developed several publications that include policy briefs, issue briefs, budget briefs and resource manuals. You may access all our publications here.

Some of our initiatives:

Suicide Reporting India Watch (Project SIREN): An initiative to track media reporting of suicides by analysing leading English newspapers and online publications, using a media reporting scorecard. We publish these details on Project SIREN’s website every quarter. View website, here.

Dashboard to assess mental illness coverage among health insurance providers: A dashboard to assess the extent to which insurance policies have complied with Section 21(4) of the MHCA to ensure health insurance coverage of mental illness is on par with physical illness. View dashboard, here.

Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 Implementation Tracker: A resource to track the implementation of various provisions of the MHCA across different states and union territories and at the centre level.  View tracker, here. Please note: The tracker is best viewed on a desktop and is not suitable for mobile interfaces.

Public Archive: An initiative to make data and information on mental health related laws, policies and programmes in India accessible. The Public Archive houses government circulars, responses to RTI requests, law and policy documents, and court judgments. View Public Archive, here.

State of Care – gaming simulation: An immersive tool to highlight the challenges faced by vulnerable groups in accessing mental healthcare and support as they navigate public systems and institutions. The tool has been developed in collaboration with Fields of View and is targeted at on-ground officials, policymakers and decision-makers. It aims to showcase the systemic gaps encountered by vulnerable groups while accessing mental health care and identify inter-sectoral policy interventions to address the same.  In April 2023, the first version of the tool was showcased at the Mindscape gatherings in Bengaluru. Read more, 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.

Tanya Nicole Fernandes, Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy, ILS, Pune.

Funders & Partners

Funded by

Thakur Family Foundation

Wellcome Trust


Fields of View, Bangalore

Thumbi Labs

World Health Organization, South East Asian Regional Office (WHO-SEARO)