Initiatives to Advance Mental Healthcare Nationwide

The Government of India is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) across the country. As part of this comprehensive initiative, the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) component has been sanctioned for implementation in 738 districts, with support provided to States/UTs through the National Health Mission. A press release on these initiatives was issued on December 8, 2023.

Under the DMHP, essential mental health services are made available at the Community Health Centre (CHC) and Primary Health Centre (PHC) levels. These services encompass outpatient care, assessment, counseling, psycho-social interventions, continuing care and support for individuals with severe mental disorders, drug provisions, outreach services, ambulance services, and a 10-bedded in-patient facility at the district level.

In addition to the DMHP, the government launched the “National Tele Mental Health Programme” on October 10, 2022. As of December 4, 2023, 34 States/UTs have established 46 Tele MANAS Cells, handling over 4,81,000 calls on the helpline. This initiative aims to enhance access to quality mental health counseling and care services.

Under the tertiary care component of NMHP, 25 Centres of Excellence have been sanctioned to increase the intake of students in postgraduate departments in mental health specialties and provide tertiary-level treatment facilities. The government has also supported 19 government medical colleges/institutions to strengthen 47 postgraduate departments in mental health specialties. Mental health services are available at 22 AIIMS institutions and are also integrated into the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).

To address mental health at the adolescent level, the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) has been implemented since 2014. RKSK covers both school-going and non-school-going adolescents, emphasizing promotion, prevention, and reaching adolescents in various environments, including schools, families, and communities. Mental health is a key thematic area under RKSK, along with sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, injuries, violence, non-communicable diseases, and substance misuse.

The Ayushman Bharat School Health & Wellness Programme incorporates a dedicated module on “Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health.” Health and Wellness Ambassadors, trained teachers, play a crucial role in promoting awareness and providing support to school children on mental health and well-being.

The Ministry of Education has initiated ‘Manodarpan‘ to provide psychosocial support to students, teachers, and families during and beyond the COVID-19 outbreak. A web page, a national toll-free helpline, and interactive sessions on mental well-being are among the components of this initiative.

NCERT has developed comprehensive resources, including a module on “Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health” as part of the School Health Programme under Ayushman Bharat. The Ministry of Education has also launched ‘NCERT Counselling Services for School Children’ and ‘Sahyog: Guidance for Mental Wellbeing of Children’ through DTH-TV channels.

These initiatives collectively underscore the government’s commitment to mental health, addressing awareness, prevention, and access to quality care across different age groups and settings.

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