NIMHANS and HelpAge India are jointly implementing Sarthak to ensure mental well-being of elderly.

Key facts

  • Sarthak is a community-based initiative that provides nurses, healthcare workers and volunteers training on geriatric mental health.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) and an NGO named HelpAge India are collaborating to implement this initiative.
  • Under Sarthak initiative, 10,000 mental health workers will be trained to identify and counter mental health issues faced by older people.
  • The training will be provided for non-specialized health workers and community caregivers through customized online modules focusing on specific categories like Non-Specialist health work force, Informal Caregivers and Institutional Caregivers.

Mental health situation among elderly

According to the NGO HelpAge, over 20 per cent of adults aging 60 and above suffer from a mental or neurological disorders like dementia and depression. During the pandemic, it found that in a sample size of 5,000 people, 60 per cent reported that they felt lonely and isolated. 40 per cent of them have felt depressed. This issue is expected to worsen in the coming years. The Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) report forecasted 14 million senior citizens in India will face mental health issues by 2050. This is a significant increase from the current figure of 5 million. Currently, in India, 2 in 10 people facing mental health issues are not receiving any kind of assistance to address mental health problems. There is only 1 psychiatrist for over 2 lakh people.


The Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) is India’s apex centre for mental health and neuroscience education. It comes under the aegis of the Union Health Ministry and operates autonomously as the Institute of National Importance. The institute’s origin can be traced to the establishment of Bangalore Lunatic Asylum in 1847. The Indian Parliament had passed a law in 2012 to declare it as an Institute of National Importance.



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