NIMHANS Digital Academy for mental healthcare courses launched

We must match speed, skill and scale to implement the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, stated the union health minister J P Nadda at the inaugural


New Delhi: The Ministry of Health, through National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru (Institute of National Importance), is initiating programmes for training of healthcare service providers across the country to deliver quality mental healthcare services.

NIMHANS has established infrastructure for starting a Digital Academy to provide large scale training to healthcare service providers like Medical Officer, Psychologists, Social Workers and Nurses to deliver quality mental healthcare services throughout the country with the objective of exponentially increasing skilled capacity in mental health in the country.

The courses for different categories of healthcare providers would be of about 30 hours duration each and spread across a period of three months and would be digitally delivered to remotely located healthcare providers across the country. After successful completion of the course and evaluation, the participants will be awarded “Diploma in Community Mental Health” by NIMHANS, Bengaluru.

Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the NIMHANS Digital Academy and addressed the first batch of professionals enrolled for undergoing courses in the fields of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Social Work recently. Nadda also released the training modules and curricula for various training programmes to be undertaken at the NIMHANS Digital Academy.

Addressing the participants, Mr Nadda said that the passing of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 brings forth a stronger and more robust legal scaffold and humane and patient-centric rights based approach for mental healthcare in our country. “We have to implement it and we must match speed, skill and scale as has been said by Prime Minister Narendra Modiji to get the desired results”. Mr Nadda further said that as far as skill is concerned, NIMHANS has always been in the forefront of capacity building and human resource training in the country. It has been a pioneer in developing the National Mental Health Programme, a community-based mental health programmes. “We have to be ambitious and ensure that the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 increases in scale of operations”, Mr Nadda added.

The Minister further said under Ayushman Bharat, 150,000 sub-centres will be converted into Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) that will deliver comprehensive primary health care. “The HWCs would provide preventive, promotive, and curative care for non-communicable diseases, dental, mental, geriatric care, palliative care, etc. He stated that the Government has initiated universal screening of common NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and common cancers along with Tuberculosis and Leprosy, which will eventually help in reducing the disease burden of the country. “In the coming times, we have to see if we can detect mental health disorders at these centres and if it can be included in the universal screening along with these diseases. We can think of training our frontline functionaries in detection, so HWCs also takes care of mental health disorders”.

Ms Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare congratulated the team and said that it is much needed initiative that will enhance the skill and potential of healthcare professionals. She further said that shortage of manpower in this area makes it a very important effort for MoHFW and NIMHANS. She added that Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 envisions adequate quality care for the citizens through skilled healthcare professionals so that we can reduce stigma against mental health disorders.

Mr B N Gangadhar, Director, NIMHANS said that this initiative will serve the purpose of mental healthcare needs. He further said that it will increase the capacity of human resources for mental health by training doctors, nurses, psychologists. Mr Gangadhar said that this initiative will lead us ‘from illness to wellness’. He said up to 50 people can be trained in the virtual classroom with only a cell phone/mobile phone with 3G connection required at the receiver’s end. It will augment the existing skills in mental health in the country, he added.

Similar training programmes would also be started by the Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi, Jharkhand and Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur, Assam and the Institutes supported by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for establishment of Centres of Excellence in the field of mental health. The courses would be open for general physicians, social workers, psychologists and general nurses.