10.6% of Indians have mental disorders; country faces severe shortage

About 10.6% of adults in India suffer from some sort of mental disorder, including substance abuse problems, a study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences or NIMHANS found.

The study was conducted in 12 states of India by the Bangalore-based institution.

Those with mental disorders were classified as those with ‘common mental disorders’, ‘severe mental disorders’, and alcohol and substance problems.


According to government figures, the country is very ill-equipped to provide support to people suffering from mental problems.

According to figures maintained by the ministry of health and family welfare, India has a requirement for about 20,250 clinical psychologists, but the country has only 898 such professionals.

Similarly, against a requirement of 13,500 psychiatrists, the country has only 3,827 such doctors.

Similarly, the country needs to have 37,000 psychiatrically trained social workers, but there are only 850 of them.

Similarly, despite having a population of around 1.3 billion people, India has only 145 counselling centers.

Part of the reason for the poor condition of mental health infrastructure in India is the stigma attached to mental illness.

Most Indians tend to see mental illness as ‘genetic’ or incurable, or even as punishment for ‘evil acts’ done in this life or in previous lives.