NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday unveiled the country’s first-ever Mental Health Policy, to provide access to good quality treatment for the mentally challenged, with a focus on those living in poverty. It would find substantial articulation in the evolving National Health Policy and National Health Assurance Mission.
Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan said the Policy’s objective was to provide universal access to mental health care, by enhancing understanding of mental health and strengthening leadership in the mental health sector at all levels. He added that the Policy was backed up by the “Mental Health Action Plan 365” and clearly spelled out the specific roles to be played by the Central government, the state governments, local bodies and civil society organisations.
Harshvardhan said, “Mental health institutes across the country would be remodelled on the lines of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore.”
The World Health Organisation has predicted that about 20 percent of India’s population would suffer from some form of mental illness by 2020.
“The country has only about 3,500 psychiatrists. Therefore, the government is confronted with the problem of lowering this gap significantly over the next decade,” Harshvardhan said.