Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Mental Health in India

By Thara, R.; Patel, Vikram | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, September 2010 | Go to article overview

Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Mental Health in India


Thara, R., Patel, Vikram, Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: R. Thara, Vikram. Patel

The paucity of treatment facilities and psychiatrists in the Government sector has widened the treatment gap in mental health. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played a significant role in the last few decades in not only helping bridge this gap, but also by creating low cost replicable models of care. NGOs are active in a wide array of areas such as child mental health, schizophrenia and psychotic conditions, drug and alcohol abuse, dementia etc. Their activities have included treatment, rehabilitation, community care, research, training and capacity building, awareness and lobbying. This chapter outlines the activities of NGOs in India. This is a revised version of the chapter in the book on mental health to be brought out by Government of India.

Introduction

Mental health has for decades been low in the priority of health planners at state and central levels and this is well reflected in the quantity and quality of mental health services in India. The needs of patients and families far outstrip the availability and accessibility of services for those with mental disorders. India's scarce mental health resources, such as mental health specialists, are largely concentrated in some states (mainly in the south) and in urban areas and a large proportion are solely in the private sector. Over half of all inpatient beds are located in 40 odd mental hospitals, most of which were built during the colonial years. It is not surprising, then, that the 'treatment gap' for mental disorders is large all over the country, but especially so in rural areas, northern states and amongst the socially disadvantaged.

While the government or public services are the key providers of care for these populations, and therefore need strengthening, the NGO movement in the country has seen a steady upswing in the last two decades to fill the large gaps. NGOs are driven by a passion towards a certain cause and back it up with commitment and drive. While the reach of their work cannot parallel that of government agencies, the quality of care and their efforts in reaching out to the various stakeholders, particularly those who are discriminated against such as persons with mental disorders, gives them a distinct advantage.

This chapter seeks to provide an overview of the contributions of Mental Health NGOs (MHNGOs) in India. A brief profile of some NGOs working in key and distinct areas should enable the readers to understand better the ways in which NGOs can innovate, replicate and complement state run services.

Historical Aspects

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are institutions, recognized by governments as non-profit or welfare oriented, which play a key role as advocates, service providers, activists and researchers on a range of issues pertaining to human and social development. Historically, NGOs have played a critical role in promoting and facilitating health and educational activities in India. Prior to independence, religious bodies set up a number of educational institutions, health facilities and other charities. These movements were often led by charismatic individuals, driven by a sense of missionary zeal. Many NGOs were born in response to major disasters and crises with the aim of providing emergency relief and rehabilitation. Since independence, there has been a meteoric rise in the profile, breadth and range of NGOs in the country.

Three key changes have occurred in the evolution of the NGO- first, the greater degree of professionalization of NGO activities; second, the widening of sources of funds for NGOactivities to include major national and international donor agencies; and third, the secular origins of NGOs. The growing professionalization of NGOs led to the evolution, in the 1960s, of NGOs which focused on health issues. These NGOs increasingly filled gaps in healthcare provision, focusing on under-served populations.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Mental Health in India
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.