Exploring India's Government Initiatives to Combat Mental Health Challenges

Feb 15


sakshi shah

sakshi shah

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

In the face of a rising mental health crisis, India's government has launched several promising programs aimed at addressing and mitigating the impact of mental disorders, including depression, which has seen an 18% increase from 2005 to 2015 according to the World Health Organization (WHO). These initiatives are crucial in a country where the corporate sector's high-pressure environment often contributes to mental health issues, and where achieving holistic health is intertwined with mental well-being.

The Growing Concern of Mental Health in India

Mental health issues are pervasive in India,Exploring India's Government Initiatives to Combat Mental Health Challenges Articles with WHO reports from 1990 to 2017 indicating that roughly one in seven people in the country suffers from some form of mental disorder. Contrary to common misconceptions, mental health problems are not confined to any particular social class and can affect individuals across all strata of society. With appropriate treatment and psychiatric support, many mental health conditions can be managed or cured, although outcomes can vary from person to person.

The World Health Report by WHO in 2001 projected that mental disorders would represent 15% of the global burden of disease by 2020, up from 12% at the time of the report. This underscores the growing need for effective mental health care and awareness programs.

Symptoms of Mental Disorders

Common symptoms that may indicate a mental health issue include:

  1. Restlessness
  2. Claustrophobia
  3. Sweating
  4. Appetite loss
  5. Nervousness
  6. Increased mood swings
  7. Sudden emotional breakdowns
  8. Social withdrawal
  9. Difficulty managing anxieties and problems

India's Mental Health Landscape: Key Facts

  • Young adults aged 15-29 are particularly vulnerable to depression and other mental health issues in India.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) reported in 2015-2016 that a significant portion of India's 1.3 billion population faces latent mental health challenges.
  • Stigma surrounding mental health in Indian culture has exacerbated the problem, leading to increased suicide rates. WHO's Global Burden of Diseases Study (2015) found that on average, 220,000 deaths per year in India are due to suicide linked to mental illness.
  • The National Mental Health Survey of India (2015-2016) revealed that nearly 150 million Indians require mental health care services, yet fewer than 30 million are actively seeking help.

Government Initiatives for Mental Health Awareness

Swach Mansikta Abhiyan

This campaign facilitates dialogue between mental health professionals and those experiencing mental health issues, aiming to reduce stigma and promote understanding.

National Mental Health Programme (NMHP)

Launched in 1982, the NMHP focuses on life skills training and counseling in educational institutions and workplaces. It also includes suicide prevention strategies and extends services through national, district (District Mental Health Programme; DMHP), and rural channels. Learn more about NMHP.

Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)

Initiated by the National Rural Health Mission, ASHA provides mental health counseling to women and children, particularly in rural areas. Discover ASHA's role.

Educational curricula and government-led awareness programs are essential in promoting mental health literacy. Early-stage interventions, such as open conversations in informal settings, can encourage those struggling with mental health to share their experiences more freely.

The focus should be on increasing awareness and eradicating the stigma associated with mental health in India by highlighting the causes of mental disorders and their treatment options.


As technology advances, various sectors have the opportunity to contribute to the fight against mental illness and spread awareness to even the most remote areas of India. With the combined efforts of government and non-governmental organizations, as well as the education of the general public, the stigma surrounding mental health can be dismantled, paving the way for a society that fully embraces the importance of mental well-being.