Nimhans, NGO ink MoU for mental health programmes

Nimhans, NGO ink MoU for mental health programmes

To educate citizens on mental health across the country, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) has partnered with the White Swan Foundation for Mental Health, a not-for-profit organisation.

Director and Vice Chancellor of Nimhans, Dr P Satishchandra, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the NGO here on Friday. Under the long-term agreement, both the partners will execute several activities like conducting awareness programmes, starting a portal that will deliver knowledge on mental health and well-being, among others.

Dr Satishchandra told reporters: “There is a stigma attached to mental illness in the society and people are hesitant to visit public institutions such as Nimhans. On February 14, 2013, when we were celebrating our Institute Day, we invited the chairman of White Swan Foundation of Mental Health, Subroto Bagchi, as chief guest. We discussed the means through which we can reach the unreachable. Thereafter, we decided to partner.”

Dr Satishchandra highlighted the extreme shortage of mental health professionals in India.

“The country needs at least 20,000 psychiatrists, but we have only 4,500. Similarly, at least 15,000 neurologists are needed, while there are 1,500.”

Nimhans will provide psychiatrists, paramedical staff, neurologists and others, to its partner for dissemination of mental health services, effectively, he said.

Bagchi said: “In a few months, the portal will be made available. It will be provided in multiple languages and under the first phase, the website will cater to youths in tier-1 and tier-2 cities. Soon, it will cater to every citizen and will have information that will help patients, their caregivers and the public, in the early detection of mental illnesses. Other components of the portal will include professional help, public participation in fight against social stigma, among others.” 

Sujaya Krishnan, former joint secretary, Union ministry of health and family welfare, and Dr Prabha Chandra, professor, department of psychiatry, and others were present on the occasion.

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