Mental Health Care in India –Past, Present and Future
R. Srinivasa Murthy
Professor of Psychiatry (retd)
Background to FOUR Essays
Professionally, starting from 1972, I have been both an activist in the area of mental health care in India and other developing countries. In the last one month, there has been focus on mental health care in the OUTLOOK (MENTAL HOSPITALS: ABANDONED WOMEN, MAY 17,2010); TEHELKA(MIND SNARE, 15 MAY 2010)AND THE HINDU( HUMANISING MENTAL HOSPITALS, JUNE 6,2010). It is with these experiences of the last four decades that I have put together the following four essays reflecting my understanding of mental health care in India.
The FIRST essay outlines the need for mental health services and the way services can be organises at the level of primary, secondary and tertiary levels. It calls for a shift from institutions to community care, from sole emphasis on professionals to people as the focus of mental health care.
The SECOND essay reviews the development of National Mental Health Programme(NMHP) in India , since 1982, and the successes and limitations of the same, along with lessons learnt for planning for the future.
The THIRD essay covers the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) in detail, outlining the way the idea of integration of mental health care with general health care came up, how it spread to the district level model and the progress in the last two decades. The sources for the current problems of DMHP are identified and the way forward to strengthen the DMHP is outlined.
The FOURTH essay, takes the PEOPLE oriented mental health care to a different level- from the constraints of professionals and institutions to making the FAMILIES the centre of care process and ways to make this shift in the Indian context.
In summary, the progress of the last four decades gives hope that it would be possible to address the vast needs of the persons with mental disorders and their...