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Carer working in group

Self-help group meeting in Karnataka

Mental health in India

Despite the prevalence of mental health problems in India, recently estimated at 20%, and the highest suicide rate in the world, the government allocates less than a tenth of a percent of its health budget – already among the lowest globally as a percentage of GDP – on mental health. The country also has an acute shortage of mental health professionals. For a population of 1.2 billion, India has only 3,500 psychiatrists – one for every 343,000 people.

Our work

We began operating in India in 2000 where our Model of work was first tested and since then over 89,000 people with mental illness or epilepsy, their carers and family members have been through our programmes.

Our holistic mental health and development services are currently delivered through:

Grameena Abyudaya Seva Samasthe (GASS)

GASS, our partner organisation in South India and our first social franchisee in Asia was established in 1996 to meet the needs of marginalized communities in rural parts of Karnataka. To date, GASS has already reached 5,315 people, and organised regular mental health clinics to provide diagnosis and treatment for them. Raising public awareness of the need for mental illness to be properly integrated into government health structures; GASS has also had great success with street drama groups, performing in schools, colleges and main squares of towns and villages in front of more than 8,000 people. Their messages about mental health and illness help remove the fear and stigma associated with mental disorders, and stress again that mental health needs to be integrated in all health initiatives.

Amali Naik “We are proud to be associated with BasicNeeds in the context of our work in mental health. With the support of the BasicNeeds Model we have been able to reach out to people affected by mental illness in the remote parts of Karnataka and have also been able to sensitize various stakeholders in the community like the government, health staff, education staff, women, men and other elected members in the local area on the issue. Through our advocacy and networking, the belief that mental illness is treatable has been built into the community and has prompted the local government’s health department to regularly hold mental health camps in government hospitals and ensure that there is a supply of medicines.” – Amali Naik, Secretary, GASS. 

Our impact to date

As of December 2016, 89,529 people including those affected by mental illnesses, their carers and family members have been supported through our programmes in India.

Contact information


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