Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 239-247

Mental Hospitals in India: Reforms for the future

1 Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Lawson Health Research Institute, The Western University, London, Ontario N6C0A7, Canada
3 Department of Psychiatry, Regional Mental Hospital, Thane, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Avinash Desousa
Carmel, 18, St. Francis Road, Off S. V. Road, Santacruz (West), Mumbai - 400 054, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_434_17

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Mental hospitals are an integral part of mental health services in India. It is an interesting story how mental hospitals have responded to the challenges of contemporary period they were built in. It is beyond doubt that it is a progressive journey along with advances in mental health both in India and internationally. As in other countries, mental hospitals in India have responded to the social challenges, disparities, and poor resources of workforce and fiscal investment. Historically, there have been changes and three major reforms are needed, namely attempt to facilitate discharge and placing patients back into the family, introducing teaching and research in mental hospitals, and accountability to civil rights as per the requirements of the National Human Rights Commission. In this review, we explore the brief history of mental hospitals in India and examine the reforms in the clinical, administrative, and psychosocial areas of these hospitals and progress in teaching and research. We finally summarize and conclude the necessity and the relevance of mental hospitals in India akin to modern psychiatric practice. We believe that mental hospitals have an important and perhaps a central role in mental health services in India. Its modernization to address issues of long-term stay, burden on caregivers, stigma, research and teaching including undergraduate and postgraduate training, new curriculum, and training for nonpsychiatric professionals and primary care physicians are necessary components of the role of mental hospitals and responsibilities of both government and nongovernmental sectors. Last but not the least, it is obligatory for mental hospitals to ensure that evidence-based treatments are implemented and that the standard of care and respect of civil and human rights of the patients and families are provided while involving the people's participation in its functioning.



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