"Even as mental healthcare professionals, social entrepreneurs and state-run agencies have been working on reducing the treatment gap in mental health, social and infrastructural issues have prevented the tipping of the awareness scale. Hence the need to empower the people with knowledge to seek and demand better services, Krishnan said."
Bangalore, June 27 - The White Swan Foundation was set up here Friday in partnership with the state-run National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) to deliver information services on mental health to the people across the country.

Founders of the leading IT consulting and services firm Mindtree Ltd such as Subroto Bagchi incubated the not-for-profit organisation with an initial investment.

The foundation will deliver content through a portal in multiple languages to the youth in tier-1 and tier-2 cities across the country and eventually serve the information needs of every citizen.

The information repository will help patients and their caregivers in early detection and diagnose, seek remedies, search for professional help and participate in the fight against social stigma surrounding mental health, Foundation chairman Bagchi told reporters on the occasion.

Though about 20 percent of Indians suffer from one or other form of mental health conditions, there are only 4,500 psychiatrists for a population of 1.25 billion. Besides lack of infrastructure, the mental healthcare sector faces many challenges, as patients and their caregivers struggle with ignorance and social stigma, leading them to self-denial.

It is only through access to right knowledge that people can be empowered to take informed decisions on mental health and demand better services. We hope that with our rich content and actionable information, we will be able to catalyse the transformation of mental healthcare in the country, Bagchi said.

The foundation has a board of advisors, including Nimhans director P. Satishchandra, former health joint secretary Sujaya Krishnan, Nimhans registrar V. Ravi and its psychiatry professor Prabha Chandra to advise on vision, strategy, implementation, governance and providing a global network.

Even as mental healthcare professionals, social entrepreneurs and state-run agencies have been working on reducing the treatment gap in mental health, social and infrastructural issues have prevented the tipping of the awareness scale. Hence the need to empower the people with knowledge to seek and demand better services, Krishnan said.

The foundation will access the rich repository of knowledge on mental health the 90-year-old Nimhans has built to generate and publish the content for its portal to fight mental illness and promote the wellbeing of the affected people.


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