Delhi’s United Way, alongside the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) and the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Indian Government, hosted “Svasti: A National Discussion on Developing a Mental Health Services Strategy” at NIMHANS, Bengaluru. This discussion convened top mental health professionals from academia, government, private sector, and civil society to exchange current situations, experiences, and suggestions for improving mental health services at various levels.
“Svasti” is a Sanskrit term meaning “may you be well.” The event successfully debated several issues in delivering affordable mental health care to the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. It provided a distinctive forum for a diverse group of individuals focused on different aspects of mental health services and target populations. The first part of the discussion centered on the challenges in accessibility and quality of mental health services, with a particular emphasis on women, children, youth, and informal sector workers. The second part focused on the challenges and recommendations surrounding mental well-being aimed at bolstering policy implementation, with an emphasis on understanding emerging technical and technological interventions.
Dr. Pratima Murthy, Director of NIMHANS, commented on the event, saying, “Svasti, a National Discussion on Mental Health, was held by United Way Delhi in collaboration with NIMHANS and the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt. of India, on March 28th, 2023. Svasti featured four panel discussions on critical mental health issues and outlined the path forward for addressing ongoing challenges in the field. Panelists and moderators from diverse backgrounds came together to make policy recommendations, suggest decentralizing mental health care services, and promote more user-friendly and family-centric approaches that would contribute to a more equitable, accessible, and approachable mental health system for everyone.”