From the Director's Desk
It is a great privilege and honour for me to lead the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) as Director.
NIMHANS is world-renowned as a centre for mental health, neurosciences and allied fields. The vision of NIMHANS is to be a world leader in these areas and to evolve state of the art approaches to patient care through translational research. The contributions of NIMHANS in providing the highest quality of clinical services, standards of excellence in training and active engagement in research in these specialised fields are widely known. NIMHANS has been committed to training in basic sciences related to the brain and mind, behaviour in health and ill-health, translation of evidence from the bench to the bedside, as well as in the community. The concurrent emphasis on both biomedicine as well as psychosocial aspects has driven research ranging from neuroplasticity, imaging and genomics to the psychological, spiritual and anthropological aspects of mental well-being and illness.
Our focus at NIMHANS has been to develop the highest standards of evidence-based care for psychiatric and neurological disorders, to strengthen and evolve diagnostic facilities to adopt a public health approach to address these disorders and ensure equitable care as a right, particularly to the vulnerable sections of our society. We also strive to reduce the stigma associated with mental and neurological disorders, enhance early treatment seeking, as well as focus on restoration of ability and recovery from stressful situations through appropriate strategies of rehabilitation. From human ethics to stem cell research, from yoga to contemporary neuromodulation approaches, from disaster relief to modern neurosurgical techniques, from addictions to Alzheimer’s – opportunities in many related fields are explored at the institute. A developmental perspective to mental health and neurosciences from ante-natal to geriatric populations and an ecological approach looking at health and illness in psychosocial contexts defines the broad-based approaches. Faculty of the institute are engaged in active collaborations at the national and international level and are well-recognised as experts in their fields, raising the credibility and scientific reputation of the institute.
NIMHANS has won many accolades including the commendation award for Kaya Kalp for three consecutive years (2017-2020), ranked 4th out of 5400 hospitals in the country on patient satisfaction on Mera Aspataal, has been ranked among the top 200 hospitals in the world by Newsweek magazine for two consecutive years, ranked 4th among educational institutions in NIRF rankings. The institute also figures among India’s top 10 government universities league and is the only hospital among them. NIMHANS is also the first INI hospital to be accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health Care Providers (NABH).
NIMHANS has a rich history and its origins date back to the nineteenth century; it later was the site for the Mysore Government Mental Hospital in 1934. It became the first post-graduate centre in the country for psychiatry and related disciplines through the establishment of the All India Institute of Mental Health (AIIMH) in 1954. The amalgamation of mental health and neurosciences led to the formation of NIMHANS in 1974, followed by recognition as a deemed university in 1994, and elevation to an Institute of National Importance through an Act of Parliament in 2013.
I am grateful to my predecessors for their leadership and outstanding contribution to NIMHANS. They pushed the agenda of enhancing patient care services, strengthening human resources in the field of mental health and neurosciences, stimulating and scaling up clinical, behavioural, laboratory and basic science research and supported policies and programmes across decades.
It has been a journey of steady progress and significant growth for NIMHANS. Advanced facilities like PET MRI, intra-operative microscopes, centralised laboratory services, and interventions like gamma knife surgeries have allowed for advanced diagnostics and interventions for complex cases.
As a leading postgraduate centre of excellence, we offer more than 50 specialised courses in a variety of disciplines. New centres and new departments have given a greater impetus to training and research. Examples include the departments of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Integrative Medicine, specialised centres like the Centre for Addiction Medicine, Centre for Public Health, NIMHANS Centre for Well Being, Centre for Psycho-Social Care in Disaster situations, Centre for Consciousness Studies, etc. New areas include digital initiatives which have been optimally used for training and human resource development activities at NIMHANS. The NIMHANS Digital Academy which has now completed three years through online training and tele-services has been an important effort to address human resource gaps in mental health care.
NIMHANS is a globally recognised institution, collaborating with more than 20 international organisations. At the national level, faculty from NIMHANS have contributed to developments in a host of areas including mental health and addictions, other non-communicable disorders, trauma care, child health, disaster preparedness, geriatric care and many others.
Covid-19 has been a time which has brought unknown and unexpected challenges, but the administration, faculty, staff and students of NIMHANS have risen heroically to face all adversities, whether in terms of patient care and safety, testing, zoning of the hospital, care of affected employees and vaccination, helping us to develop strength, resilience and fortitude and coming together as a team.
An institution of this stature is not just built of bricks and mortar. The soul of the institution is the family of faculty, staff, students and administration, all working together for the well-being of patients and society. It is only possible to nurture NIMHANS when all of us work together and foster further growth. Working together with Team NIMHANS, all the well-wishers, collaborators and with support from civil society and government, we will strive to maintain the legacy of excellence that has always defined this great institution and steer NIMHANS to a greater future.
Dr. Pratima Murthy