There has been a sharp increase in the number of people seeking treatment for mental health issues in the country, shows data released by the Health Ministry from three Central Mental Health Institutions. The three institutions are – the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP), Ranchi and Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health (LGBRIMH), Tezpur. The data is for the period of 2019-22.
While the data showed that there has been a surge in the number of OPD (Out-Patient Department) visits of patients seeking treatment for mental health issues, it also shows a significant decline in the IPD (Inpatient Department) visits in NIMHANS.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar said that the government is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in the country to ensure affordable and accessible mental healthcare facilities to the population, including the poor and underprivileged.
“The District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) component of the NMHP has been sanctioned for implementation in 716 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. Mental health services have been added to the package of services under Comprehensive Primary Health Care under Ayushman Bharat – HWC Scheme. Operational guidelines on Mental, Neurological, and substance use disorders (MNS) at Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) have been released under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat,” she said.
She also emphasized that the Government launched a “National Tele Mental Health Programme” on October 10, 2022 to further improve access to quality mental health counselling and care services in the country.
“As on 09.03.2023, 25 States/ UTs have set up 36 Tele MANAS Cells and have started mental health services. 63806 calls have been handled on the helpline number,” the minister said.
Also, the Government is further increasing the availability of manpower to deliver mental healthcare services, especially in underserved areas of the country For this, the government is providing online training courses to various categories of general healthcare medical and para medical professionals through the Digital Academies, since 2018, 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.