The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the University of Melbourne have signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding this week in Delhi to collaborate on strengthening India’s national community mental health system. The India-Australia Collaboration in Community Mental Health will seek to address the high mental health burden and large treatment gap of mental illness in India.
“This project is innovative and an exciting opportunity to create positive change for diverse community mental health care in India,” said Professor Simon Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Melbourne.
“This is an international partnership designed to strategically implement culturally appropriate services to close the mental health treatment gap,” said Professor Evans. The project will use technical expertise from the University of Melbourne’s Asia-Australia Mental Health and will be delivered in partnership with the Australia India Institute. A bilateral Advisory Committee chaired by the India’s Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will oversee the overall project.
The collaboration will develop appropriate community mental health models in India that can be scaled up to increase access to appropriate care for people with mental illness.
More than 75% of those identified with serious disorders in the world mental health surveys in low and middle-income countries receive no care at all.
“The rise of mental illness is a truly global burden that is too large for one country to solve alone,” said Associate Professor Chee Ng, Co-Director, Asia-Australia Mental Health.
Four key pilot sites across India have been identified to provide leadership for a national program. They will be assisted to develop best practice models that reflect the diverse conditions and needs from rural to urban conditions.
Over the next two years, each of the four field sites will be supported by a tertiary care mental health institute and a local administrative committee representing the broad community stakeholders in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
More information can be found here.