There has been a dearth of medical services, lack of facilities, infrastructure and professionals in the field of ‘child and adolescent mental health’ in our country. A family seeking professional or medical help may find it difficult to get the right guidance for their child, and are usually referred from one therapist to another with no accurate diagnostics, evaluations or professional, multidisciplinary approach to the goals. Thus, the approach always remains fragmented, with no unity in the therapeutic interventions.

The importance of psychological well-being in children and adolescents for their healthy emotional, social, physical, cognitive and educational development is well-recognised. There is increasing evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to improve child and adolescent resilience, promote mental health and treat mental health problems.

Mental health problems are likely to become a global disease in the 21st century. For adolescents, mental health hurdles have become as common as some physical health issues such as asthma and polio. Traditionally in India, the responsibility of the care and protection of children has been with families and communities. Child and adolescent mental health is the fundamental right and the fulfillment of these rights has always been more need based, rather than rights based.

A typical Indian child starts his/her life in the womb, with intrauterine growth retardation (30%), due to factors like malnutrition and anemia. The child, especially a female, continues to have deprivation and discrimination all through his/her life. Indian children undergo multidimensional exploitation, inflicted both at home and at the work-place; economically, sexually, personally and educationally. This results in poor identity and self-worth of the child. Even the legislative and social changes, through mass movement, on community awareness in the direction of compulsory schooling, have failed to ensure mental health to an Indian child.

The nation’s children are a supremely important asset. Nurturing them is our responsibility. Children programmes should find a prominent part in our national plans, for the development of human resources in each sector, so that our children grow up to become responsible citizens. Equal opportunities of development to all children during the period of growth should be our aim, serving the larger purpose of reducing inequality and ensuring social justice.

current Issues

Present Infrastructure

At present, we have tertiary care centres, which attend to mental illness in a hospital setting. They are therapeutic in nature and aim to treat and rehabilitate those suffering from mental illness. However, a large gap exists in the area of prevention, mental health promotion and early intervention programmes.

Even WHO identifies the treatment gap in mental healthcare. The World Health Organisation asserts that many people suffering from psychiatric illnesses remain untreated, although effective treatment exists. The WHO report examines the extent of this gap between the prevalence and treatment of psychiatric disorders globally.

What We’re Doing

The Centre

Learn more about what we do.

The Movement

Learn more about the #StampOutStigma campaign.

You can Help Too!