About mental health in India

One in four people around the world will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Those affected can face isolation, exclusion from work and family life, increased poverty, high healthcare costs and abuses of their human rights. India was one of the five pilot countries for Time to Change Global programme.

We worked in partnership to run a pilot campaign to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in and around Bangalore, capital city of the South Indian state of Karnataka. 

According to the latest National Mental Health Survey of India, around 15% of the adult population currently require support for one or more mental health problem. That amounts to approximately 150 million people. 

Read the WHO country profile for India to find out more about mental health in the country.

Focus group research carried out in Doddaballapur by Kantar on behalf of Time to Change Global showed a limited understanding of mental health among the public. For many of the focus group participants, it was felt someone with a mental health problem is marked by a lifelong label and deemed unfit to work or lead a normal life.

Read the full research report from Kantar along with recommendations on how to reduce stigma and build empathy towards people with mental health problems (PDF).

"For the longest time in India, people saw mental illness as a sort of punishment from God. Or as some sort of a demonic or spiritual possession.” (Sanchana)

About our local partner in India 

We worked with our partner CBM and Grameena Abyudaya Seva Samsthe (GASS) to help address mental health stigma and discrimination in Bangalore, India. 

Grameena Abyudaya Seva Samsthe (GASS) is an organisation offering community based rehabilitation and development for people with disabilities and all marginalized groups including women and children.

Alongside our partner CBM, we worked with GASS to co-develop, test, deliver and evaluate a pilot anti-stigma campaign in and around Bangalore, in the South Indian state of Karnataka.   

GASS want to see a world where all marginalized groups are empowered to have equal opportunities, equal access to justice and equal ability to enjoy their human rights. Through all of their work they ensure the people they support can fully participate in society and lead a quality life.

GASS mobilise local communities to find their own long-term solutions to problems. They do this by advocating for laws and policies and by providing local services that help people to understand and implement their rights.

At the heart of our partnership with GASS was a shared belief that people with experience of mental health problems must lead the change around stigma and discrimination. This is the most effective way to tackle stigma and inspire local communities.  

Find out more about GASS on their website.