Government-NGO partnership key to better odds for mentally ill persons: Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan

Partnerships between governments and NGOs were the key to better the odds for persons living with mental illness, said Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan at Chennai on Saturday.

Published: 22nd July 2018 03:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2018 03:44 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Partnerships between governments and NGOs were the key to better the odds for persons living with mental illness, said Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan at Chennai on Saturday
The health secretary was speaking at an event marking the 25th anniversary of The Banyan, a Chennai-based NGO working on issues related to mental health and homelessness. TN Advocate General Vijay Narayan, who was also at the event, for his part drew attention to the gap between the need and allocation of funds.  “In India, around 60 million people suffer from mental illness, that’s 6.5 per cent of the total population... In a few years, it is expected to rise to 18-20 per cent,” he said, pointing out that spending on the issue was only 0.6 per cent of the annual budget expenditure.  

Nachiket Mor, India director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, looked ahead to plotting an action plan for the next 25 years. “Existing mental hospitals must evolve into more inclusive nurturing places,” he said. Narayan added, “Initiatives should move beyond prevention of homelessness to the improvement of an overall way of life.”

The Banyan, which was started in 1993 out of a small apartment in Mogappair, now operates in three southern states. Though the anniversary celebration was a star-studded affair, the focus of the evening remained the state of mental health care. The Banyan launched a partner organisation called The Other Identity Foundation, that will raise awareness through the sharing stories of persons living with mental illness.

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