Traditionally, mental health is considered to be of relevance only to affluent societies. There has been very little recognition of the mental health needs of the population in general health programs of developing countries like India. Perhaps this has been because of the misconception that mental illness is less prevalent in developing countries than in the West and that no effective treatment is available.
Psychiatric services in India are woefully inadequate, and there is no prospect in the next ten to twenty years of providing enough specialized personnel to meet even the most basic mental health needs ( Neki, 1973). The situation is worse in rural areas due to the heavy concentration of psychiatrists and facilities in the cities. The limited mobility of the rural population is an important delaying factor. Furthermore, ignorance and misconception among the rural folks also lead to delay in mental health care.
September 12, 1978, was a significant day in the progress of mental health care, when several countries including India signed the Alma Ata declaration in the USSR, promising primary mental health care to all citizens of the world by the year 2000. It was hoped that this attainment of a level of health by people would permit them to live a biologically healthy, socially enriching, and economically productive life, irrespective of any national boundaries, racial prejudices, economic deprivations, and political commitments.
India is the seventh-largest and second most populous country in the world. Its population was 843,930,861 in March 1991, following China's 1, 160 million people. India's population constitutes 16 percent of the world's population. India is triangular in shape, extending over an area of 3,287,263 square kilometers