Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

National Mental Health Programme: Manpower Development Scheme of Eleventh Five-Year Plan

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

National Mental Health Programme: Manpower Development Scheme of Eleventh Five-Year Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: Suman. Sinha, Jagdish. Kaur

Mental disorders impose a massive burden in the society. The National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) is being implemented by the Government of India to support state governments in providing mental health services in the country. India is facing shortage of qualified mental health manpower for District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) in particular and for the whole mental health sector in general. Recognizing this key constraint Government of India has formulated manpower development schemes under NMHP to address this issue. Under the scheme 11 centers of excellence in mental health, 120 PG departments in mental health specialties, upgradation of psychiatric wings of medical colleges, modernization of state-run mental hospitals will be supported. The expected outcome of the Manpower Development schemes is 104 psychiatrists, 416 clinical psychologists, 416 PSWs and 820 psychiatric nurses annually once these institutes/ departments are established. Together with other components such as DMHP with added services, Information, education and communication activities, NGO component, dedicated monitoring mechanism, research and training, this scheme has the potential to make a facelift of the mental health sector in the country which is essentially dependent on the availability and equitable distribution mental health manpower in the country.


Mental disorders are significant public health issue and pose a tremendous socioeconomic burden on community. Neuropsychiatric conditions have an aggregate point prevalence of about 10% for adult population. [sup][1]

About 450 million people are estimated to be suffering from neuropsychiatric conditions worldwide. In 1990, mental and neurological disorders accounted for 10% of the total DALYs lost due to all diseases and injuries. This increased to 12% in the year 2000 and an analysis of trends indicates that the burden will further increase to 15% by the year 2020. [sup][2]

The resources available to tackle the huge burden of these disorders are insufficient, inequitably distributed and inefficiently used, which leads to a treatment gap of more than 75% in many countries with low and lower-middle class incomes. [sup][3] Poor awareness about symptoms of mental illness, myths and stigma related to it, lack of knowledge on the treatment availability and potential benefits of seeking treatment are important causes for the high-treatment gap.

In India, the prevalence estimates vary between 5.82 [sup][4] to 7.3%. [sup][5] In terms of absolute number suffering from mental illnesses, the prevalence estimate throws up a huge number of about 7 crore persons.

The median number of psychiatrists in India is only 0.2 per 100,000 population compared to a global median of 1.2 per 100,000 population. Similarly, the figures for psychologists, social workers and nurses working for mental health is 0.03, 0.03 and 0.05 per 100,000 population compared to a global median of 0.60, 0.40 and 2.00 per 100,000 population, respectively. [sup][6]

Growing awareness regarding the magnitude of mental health problems in the country, a flurry of health activities in the late 70s which included Alma Ata Declaration, the commitment to provide health to all by 2000, and the realization that mental health care was possible through the existing primary health care system led to the launch of National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) by the Government of India in 1982. [sup][7]

NMHP strives to ensure availability and accessibility of minimum mental health care for all in the near foreseeable future, particularly to the most vulnerable sections of the population; to encourage mental health knowledge and skills in general health care and social development; to promote community participation in mental health service development and to stimulate self-help in the community. [sup][7]

In line with the National Health Policy 2002, the objectives of the NMHP and global trend of community care of mentally ill, a field-tested model of community mental health care was adopted as District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) for NMHP. …

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