5 years ago

Human resources and models of mental healthcare integration into primary and community care in India: Case studies of 72 programmes

Sarah Ghani, Nadja van Ginneken, Jayashree Ramakrishna, Anusha Raja, Vikram Patel, Meera S. Maheedhariah

by Nadja van Ginneken, Meera S. Maheedhariah, Sarah Ghani, Jayashree Ramakrishna, Anusha Raja, Vikram Patel


Given the scarcity of specialist mental healthcare in India, diverse community mental healthcare models have evolved. This study explores and compares Indian models of mental healthcare delivered by primary-level workers (PHW), and health workers’ roles within these. We aim to describe current service delivery to identify feasible and acceptable models with potential for scaling up.


Seventy two programmes (governmental and non-governmental) across 12 states were visited. 246 PHWs, coordinators, leaders, specialists and other staff were interviewed to understand the programme structure, the model of mental health delivery and health workers’ roles. Data were analysed using framework analysis.


Programmes were categorised using an existing framework of collaborative and non-collaborative models of primary mental healthcare. A new model was identified: the specialist community model, whereby PHWs are trained within specialist programmes to provide community support and treatment for those with severe mental disorders. Most collaborative and specialist community models used lay health workers rather than doctors. Both these models used care managers. PHWs and care managers received support often through multiple specialist and non-specialist organisations from voluntary and government sectors. Many projects still use a simple yet ineffective model of training without supervision (training and identification/referral models).

Discussion and conclusion

Indian models differ significantly to those in high-income countries—there are less professional PHWs used across all models. There is also intensive specialist involvement particularly in the community outreach and collaborative care models. Excessive reliance on specialists inhibits their scalability, though they may be useful in targeted interventions for severe mental disorders. We propose a revised framework of models based on our findings. The current priorities are to evaluate the comparative effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and scalability of these models in resource-limited settings both in India and in other low- and middle- income countries.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178954

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.