The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India, and The University of Melbourne are to sign a landmark Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday 30 August 2011, to collaborate in community mental health


26 August 2011

University of Melbourne to collaborate with Indian Government on mental health

The University of Melbourne has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare India to help improve India’s national mental health system.

The India-Australia Collaboration in Community Mental Health aims to address the current treatment gap of mental illness in India.  

The project will involve developing community mental health models, trialled across four pilot sites, to help increase access to appropriate care for people with mental illness.

Over the next two years, the project will draw on technical expertise from Asia-Australia Mental Health, a consortium of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Psychiatry, Asialink, along with St Vincents Health. The project will also be delivered in partnership with the Australia India Institute.

A tertiary care mental health institute and a local administrative committee will support each of the trial sites.

Speaking in Delhi at the signing of the agreement, the University of Melbourne’s Professor Simon Evans, Pro Vice Chancellor (International) said the project is set to make a positive impact.

“This project is innovative and an exciting opportunity to create positive change for people with mental illness in India in a variety of urban, rural and tribal settings.

“This is an international partnership designed to implement culturally appropriate services to close the mental health treatment gap.”

Co-Director of Asia-Australia Mental Health (AAMH), Associate Professor Chee Ng, said that collaboration on mental health was the way forward.  “The rise of mental illness is a truly global burden that is too large for one country to solve alone.”

This partnership comes about from a five-year history of productive collaboration between Asia-Australia Mental Health (AAMH) and the Directorate General of Health Services of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Mental health surveys in low and medium-income countries reveal that more than 75 per cent of those identified with serious mental illness receive no care at all.  Associate Professor Chee Ng said that “Effective and appropriate treatments are available for mental disorders and closing the treatment gap is a real possibility for India”