Boosting Mental Health services in India

I attended a lecture on CBT- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and how it is being made accessible in Scotland. Check the website below.

Can we bring this to India? Can we set up an organisation that caters to mental health in every possible way to reach as many people as possible for as little money as possible?

A review article – Gellatly et. al 2007 showed that self help can be as effective as antidepressants. We can use books or computer based methods to reach people in need of help. Some poople prefer books because you can underline, highlight, and stick bits of postits in to mark out sections. But the internet is so widely used that it is the medium for too much. Should be utilised optimally.

They also talk about how the presentation of a product itself makes a difference. If a tablet capsule is shiny and pretty, it psychologically influences the patient to believe in how good it is for them. When counsellors / clinical psychologists hand out photocopies chapters of CBT books, its usually just stapled. If you spiral bind it, they take it more seriously.

What ever they read has to be in understandable, simple, accessible language. In the case of India, we’ll need bilingual experts to translate into as many local languages as possible.

Apparently, how much space you leave between the lines also matters. Use examples, questions, simple sentence contructions, interactive, non patronising and make them feel, by the way it is presented, that they know you- feel a connection or a human relationship with it.

These will obviously only be supplementary to the counsellor’s sessions. So the belief of the practitioner in these methods and them recommending them will also increase the credibility of these sources. When people are depressed, it’s hard for them to even come out and face people. So all sources must be made as easy to access, positive and friendly as possible.

The ways of reaching them can be of the following-

face to face- individual




video conference


small work books with basic facts

larger more detailed books

translations of already existing books of both types


group meetings

Does this seem like too many choices? The counsellor can assess each person and recommend which means will be most affective for them.

Make as much of this openly accessible as possible.

This not only will be a great way to improve mental health of people, it is also a potent opportunity for employment of various skills. Counsellors, translators, call centers on local timings (helplines), and writers who can simplify jargon into basic language for everyone to understand. Not to mention the management and coordination of all this. It’s a good enough idea that could attract funding from the government and perhaps others as well.

I’m open to feedback and ideas on where to start to make this happen.

See also