To address the burden of mental disorders, the Government of India is implementing the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) since 1982. The Government is supporting implementation of the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) under NMHP in 704 districts of the country. To generate awareness among masses about mental illnesses, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities are an integral part of the NMHP. At district level, sufficient funds are provided under the DMHP under the National Health Mission for IEC and awareness generation activities in the community, schools, workplaces and community at large.
Further, realizing the impact that COVID-19 may have on the mental health of the people, the Government has taken a number of initiatives, including –
- Setting up of a 24/7 helpline to provide psychosocial support, by mental health professionals, to the entire affected population, divided into different target groups viz children, adult, elderly, women and healthcare workers.
- Issuance of guidelines/ advisories on management of mental health issues, catering to different segments of the society.
- Advocacy through various media platforms in the form of creative and audio-visual materials on managing stress and anxiety, and promoting an environment of support and care for all.
- Issuance and dissemination of detailed guidelines by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru- “Mental Health in the times of COVID-19 Pandemic – Guidance for General Medical and Specialized Mental Health Care Settings”.
- All the guidelines, advisories and advocacy material can be accessed on Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website under “Behavioural Health – Psychosocial helpline” (https://www.mohfw.goin/ ).
- Online capacity building of health workers by NIMHANS in providing psychosocial support and training through (iGOT)-Diksha platform.
Besides the above, the Government has announced a “National Tele Mental Health Programme” in the Budget of 2022-23, to further improve access to quality mental health counselling and care services in the country.
With the objective to mobilize efforts in support of mental health and to raise awareness about mental health issues and advocate against the social stigma that surrounds mental health, the World Mental Health Day is also observed on 10th October of each year.
The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharti Pravin Pawar stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
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