The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences – NIMHANS since its inception as far back as in 1850 evolved into a foremost institute of national importance. Hon’ble President Pranab Mukherjee conferred NIMHANS, Bangalore with the title of ‘An Institute of National Importance’. NIMHANS has undertaken first-ever National Mental Health Survey so as to keep a check that mentally ill people should not continue to be subjected to neglect and marginalization. The survey will cover a representative population across many States and Union Territories of India and that Phase 1 of the study has commenced in 12 States.
A team of nearly 60 experts from NIMHANS has started collecting data from 12 States that have been listed for the National Mental Health Survey (NMHS). The survey has been started with support from the Union Health Ministry.
Earlier during the event, President congratulated all the founding members and successive directors of this institution for their vision and leadership. President felt pleased over the inauguration of the NIMHANS heritage museum and appreciated the efforts of the people associated with its creation. President also inaugurated MEG Research Centre which is the first of its kind in India.
Speaking on the occasion, President told that country’s first comprehensive mental health policy was notified recently during last October on the occasion of World Mental Health Day. The mental health policy covers many aspects related to mental health like rights of the mentally ill, the need to provide support to care, givers, decriminalization of suicide – and other progressive policy initiatives. Not only this the policy is even supported by the ‘Mental Health Action Plan 365’ which further in detail discusses the roles to be played by Central Government, the State Governments, local bodies and civil society. The bill on mental health-care is currently under consideration in Parliament.
The President expressed his happiness while appreciating the number of initiatives such as the ‘Brain bank’, the Free Legal Aid Clinic in its outpatient block, Centre for Well-Being, Centre for Public Health and Centre for Addiction Medicine that has been taken by NIMHANS. President has urged that NIMHANS Community Mental Health and Rehabilitation Centre and Neuro-biology Research Centre (NRC) along with other models can also be set up in other parts of the country so that more and more people on the payment of the nominal fee can avail highly specialized services offered by NIMHANS free of cost.