Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Mental Health Policy -- the Kerala Initiative

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Mental Health Policy -- the Kerala Initiative

Article excerpt

Sir - The global burden of disease from neuropsychiatric conditions is expected to rise considerably by the year 2020, with increased prevalence of depression in developing countries (1). Health care delivery systems in developing countries are often grossly inadequate for the provision of mental health care. Governments should be made aware that an evidence-based, proactive mental health policy is an urgent requirement, so that mental health care facilities can be suitably improved to meet the challenges they will have to face.

Kerala is a small southern Indian state with an estimated 30 million inhabitants, whose paradox of good health and low income has attracted global attention (2).

The Kerala branch of the Indian Psychiatric Society has been instrumental in drafting a mental health policy for the state: suggestions were sought from all practising psychiatrists and, through the media, from patients, their carets, and the general public. That providers and users of care shared common concerns was apparent from the strikingly similar suggestions made by all groups. These suggestions were all considered by a subcommittee, and a proposal was drafted which is now being deliberated by the government. …

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