Mental Disorders: India’s Ignored Reality


Many times misunderstood, mostly ignored or hushed-up, the mental ailments always remain undercover in India. As per the latest data available, at least 60 million Indians suffer from mental disorders.


Nearly 10-20 million Indians suffered from severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and nearly 50 million suffered from common mental disorders like depression and anxiety at the end of 2005, Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda informed the Lok Sabha in May 2016, quoting data from National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, 2005, the last report available.


India spends 0.06 per cent of its health budget on mental healthcare. Most developed nations spend above 4 per cent of their budgets on mental-health research, infrastructure, frameworks and talent pool, according to a 2011 World Health Organization report.


While suicides triggered by insanity declined from 7 per cent in 2010 to 5.4 per cent in 2014, more than 7,000 people killed themselves due to mental disorders, a study by IndiaSpend has shown.


India is short of health professionals to address psychological issues, particularly at the district and sub-district levels. There are 3,800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists, 850 psychiatric social workers and 1,500 psychiatric nurses nationwide, according to a reply by the ministry in the Lok Sabha in December 2015.


In India, there are three psychiatrists per million people, according to data from World Health Organisation, 18 times fewer than the Commonwealth norm of 5.6 psychiatrists per 1,00,000 people.

By this estimate, India is short of 66,200 psychiatrists. Similarly, based on the global average of 21.7 psychiatric nurses per 1,00,000 people, India needs 2,69,750 nurses.

National Institute of Medical Health and Neurosciences

According to the Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, the funding to centres of excellence in mental health has increased from Rs 30 crore  to Rs 33.70 crore per centre.

As many as 15 centres of excellence in mental health and 35 post-graduate training departments in mental health specialties have been funded to address the shortage of mental health professionals nationwide.

(In arrangement with, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform, with whom Prachi Salve is an analyst. The views expressed are those of IndiaSpend. Feedback at Read the IndiaSpend story here:


  1. Despite the gross human interference, nature has been trying to retain its inner strength and stability in most areas/ activities/processes. One of its most important areas or processes is the human Consciousness. Like all products and processes in nature, human Consciousness also has its own period of growth after birth to come to its full potential. It is like the manufacturing process of a great biological (data processing) gadget or process. Any interference causing damage to it during its growth leads to the like of the manufacturing defect. Easiest way to raise strong and stable minded individuals is to raise them with minimum physical interference by giving safety from physical hurts and physical needs or like watering a plant only till it grows fully. Once it has grown fully say by 5 years, it will be able to receive any knowledge of any complexity. Why don’t we study that some countries in Europe are said to prohibit parents from teaching anything to children below 7 years? What is unfortunate is that though early discoveries about Consciousness were made in this region, it is not growing further. What is being practiced is not that.

  2. I had read an article in France, that the mentally ill in India, were not treated well, because in a previous life, they would have acted badly


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