In a bid to provide affordable and accessible mental healthcare facilities to the population, including the poor and underprivileged, the Government is implementing National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in the country. The District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) component of the NMHP has been sanctioned for implementation in 704 districts for which support is provided to States/UTs through the National Health Mission.
Facilities made available under DMHP at the Community Health Centre (CHC) and Primary Health Centre (PHC) levels, include outpatient services, assessment, counselling/ psycho-social interventions, continuing care and support to persons with severe mental disorders, drugs, outreach services, ambulance services etc. In addition to above services there is a provision of 10 bedded in-patient facility at the District level.
To generate awareness among masses about mental illnesses, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities are an integral part of the NMHP. At District level, sufficient funds are provided to each District under the DMHP for IEC and awareness generation activities in the community, schools, workplaces, with community involvement. Under DMHP various IEC activities such as awareness messages in local newspapers and radio, street plays, wall paintings etc. are taken by the States/ UTs.
Further, funds are provided to each district supported under DMHP for targeted interventions with the following objectives:
- To provide class teachers with facilitative skill to promote life skill amount their students.
- To provide the class teachers with knowledge and skills to identify emotional conduct, scholastic and substance use problems in their students.
- To provide class teachers with a system of referral for students with psychological problems to the District Mental Health Team for inputs and treatment.
- To involve other stakeholders like parents, community leaders to enhance development of adolescents etc.
Besides the above, the Government has announced a “National Tele Mental Health Programme” in the Budget of 2022-23, to further improve access to quality mental health counselling and care services in the country – the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
As per the National Mental Health Survey, 2016, prevalence of mental disorders in age group 13-17 years was 7.3%. The most common prevalent problems were Depressive Episode & Recurrent Depressive Disorder (2.6%), Agoraphobia (2.3%), Intellectual Disability (1.7%), Autism Spectrum Disorder (1.6%), Phobic anxiety disorder (1.3%) and Psychotic disorder (1.3%).
The data regarding registered colleges and schools having the facility of a qualified counsellor is not maintained centrally. However, with a view to augment the availability of qualified manpower in field of mental health, the Government, under NMHP, implements manpower development schemes for establishment of Centres of Excellence and strengthening/ establishment of Post Graduate (PG) Departments in mental health specialties. Till date, support has been provided for establishment of 25 Centres of Excellence and strengthening/ establishment of 47 Post Graduate (PG) Departments in mental health specialties in the country.
The Government augments the availability of manpower to deliver mental healthcare services in the underserved areas of the country by providing online training courses to various categories of general healthcare medical and para medical professionals through the Digital Academies established at the three Central Mental Health Institutes namely National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur, Assam, and Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi.