State of mental health: Centre has no data about number of clinical psychologists working in India

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday said they don’t have any data of registered mental health professionals including psychiatrists working in government and private sectors across the country.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  3 Feb 2021 3:59 AM GMT
State of mental health: Centre has no data about number of clinical psychologists working in India

Hyderabad: Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday said they don't have any data of registered mental health professionals including psychiatrists working in government and private sectors across the country.

In a reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwin Kumar Choubey said that data regarding the number of clinical psychologists in the country is not maintained centrally.

According to the 2016 National Mental Health Survey (NMHS) conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, the prevalence of mental disorders in adults over the age of 18 years is about 10.6%.

Mental Health Preparedness during COVID-19

In another question, whether the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the mental health crisis in India, Junior Health Minister said: "The government has not conducted any study to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the population. However, realizing the impact that COVID-19 may have on the mental health of the people, the government has taken a number of initiatives to provide psychosocial support during COVID-19."

These initiatives include setting up a 24/7 helpline to provide psychosocial support, by mental health professionals to the entire affected population, divided into different target groups viz children, adult, elderly, women, and healthcare workers.

Other initiatives include issuing guidelines/ advisories on the management of mental health issues, catering to different segments of the society. Advocacy through various media platforms in the form of creative and audio-visual materials on managing stress and anxiety, and promoting an environment of support and care for all.

Also, the minister said that all the guidelines, advisories and advocacy material can be accessed on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website under "Behavioural Health – Psychosocial helpline" (https://www.mohfw.gov.in/).

National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru has also issued guidelines. Entitled `Mental Health in the times of COVID-19 Pandemic - Guidance for General Medical and Specialized Mental Health Care Settings', the NIMHANS came up with the guidelines during the pandemic.

Mental Health Infrastructure & Spending

Junior Health Minister informed the parliament that with the objective to address the shortage of mental health professionals in the country, they have funded 25 Centers of Excellence in Mental Health and 47 PG training Departments in Mental Health specialties to increase the PG training capacity as well as improving tertiary care.

The financial support for the establishment of each Center of Excellence in the field of mental health has been increased from Rs. 30 crores in the 11th Five Year Plan to Rs. 36.96 crores per Center.

"The District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) has been extended to 692 districts of the country, under which, enhanced financial assistance of up to Rs. 83.20 lakhs per district per year is being provided to the districts for detection, management, and treatment of mental disorders/ illness and additional components like suicide prevention services, workplace stress management, life skills training, and counseling in schools and colleges," said the Junior Health Minister.


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