Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Mutual Learning and Research Messages: India, UK, and Europe

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Mutual Learning and Research Messages: India, UK, and Europe

Article excerpt

Byline: Gurvinder. Kalra, Dinesh. Bhugra

India and UK have had a long history together, since the times of the British Raj. Most of what Indian psychiatry is today, finds its roots in ancient Indian texts and medicine systems as much as it is influenced by the European system. Psychiatric research in India is growing. It is being influenced by research in the UK and Europe and is influencing them at the same time. In addition to the sharing of ideas and the know-how, there has also been a good amount of sharing of mental health professionals and research samples in the form of immigrants from India to the UK. The Indian mental health professionals based in UK have done a good amount of research with a focus on these Indian immigrants, giving an insight into cross-cultural aspects of some major psychiatric disorders. This article discusses the impact that research in these countries has had on each other and the contributions that have resulted from it.


Over six decades have passed since the British left India. However, the patterns of healthcare they had established have remained and indeed influenced the psychiatric system of modern India and continue to do so. Psychiatry has its roots as a biomedical discipline in Europe and a history related to delivery of psychiatric services largely through asylums. Certainly some facets of psychiatric services and research and training have changed as a result of changes in the healthcare policy in the last quarter of a century, although much more needs to be done. The growing research strength of Indian Psychiatry can be seen from the number of paper presentations in various conferences and the growing number of publications, some of which have been co-authored by researchers from India and UK, thus making it important to look at the impact factor that the research in both these countries have on each other. In an increasingly globalized world, not withstanding historical research, it is possible that research and service development ideas will be shared across various countries and regions. In this article we highlight some of the studies where an impact has been felt in two major regions of the world - India and Europe, including the UK.


Mills [sup][1] had divided the history of Indian psychiatry into four main periods, 1795 to 1857, 1858 to 1914, 1914 to 1947, and 1947 to the present day, and argued that the foundations of modern psychiatry in India were laid down during the British Raj . Parkar et al .[sup][2] mentioned three major revolutions in Indian psychiatry, helping it reach where it is today. The first revolution occurred when it was believed that sin and witchcraft led to mental illness; the second revolution was the advent of psychoanalysis; and the third was the development of community psychiatry, resulting in the integration of mental healthcare in the community.

Impact of Indian Research on UK

There have been several strands of research carried out in India, which have directly and indirectly influenced research and service delivery in the UK. These can be roughly divided into research, translation of research into clinical practice, and impact on service delivery for Indian patients in the UK.

Psychiatric research in India has been carried out by a number of agencies - from central organizations such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to academic institutions such as National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) - Bangalore, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) - Delhi, and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) - Chandigarh, along with NGOs such as Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF), Sneha, and Sangath. Of the national organizations, ICMR is the main body in India for the formulation, coordination, and promotion of biomedical research, which also supports international collaborations, including those with the Medical Research Council, UK. …

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