Vikram Patel, MD, PhD, Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School
Despite the large contribution of mental disorders on the total disease burden in India — making it a nationwide public health priority — most of those affected do not receive evidence-based interventions, leading to a significant gap in treatment.
Implementation of this project has drawn attention of non-specialist health workers (NSHWs) in Gujarat who were largely unaware of about the importance of mental health, an alarming challenge in the field of public health. This project inculcated interest as well as knowledge about mental health amongst them. Following three successive workshops the participants were able to gain fundamental insights, developed understanding and enhance their skills related to identifying and treating mental disorders specifically depression. Overall, it can be said that, this project played an important role in capacity building of the existing government health workforce specifically in terms of mental health knowledge.
Additionally, the project is also expected to benefit the health systems by providing an innovative digital training for non-specialist health workers which can be scaled up. This will help reduce the treatment gap for mental disorders, particularly for depression by generating knowledge by designing and evaluating digital interventions for training of NSHWs, and implementation of evidence-based psychosocial interventions at primary health center.
SEWA Rural, Jhagadia, Bharuch, Gujarat
Gujarat Institute of Mental Health (GIMH), Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Argusoft, Gandhinagar, Gujarat (for the Techo platform)