India has a huge burden of mental health disorders, which is posing a serious threat to the health of the nation. The prevalence of mental health disorders in India was 10.6% in the year 2016 according to the National Mental Health Survey Reports in the year, 2016. It has been estimated that about 150 million mentally ill people in India are in need of health care services. India has got a poor mental health workforce with only 0.3 psychiatrists per 100,000 populations against the WHO recommendation of 1 psychiatrist per 100,000 populations. In order to address this issue of huge burden of mental health disorders and huge shortage of mental health workforce Government of India launched the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in the year 1982. In the present article the NMHP has been critically evaluated. The programme has several lacunae at the implementation level with poor programme coverage. Some of the measures to improve the programme include – Strengthening of monitoring and evaluation, increase in the mental health work force, increasing the programme coverage, fostering public private partnerships and use of Information and Technology services for improved delivery of mental health care services.
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