An innovative, low-cost model for improving mental health in rural Kashmir, India

Project Lead(s): Ashok Malla, Mushtaq Margoob
Funding : Grand Challenges Canada

In a part of the world locked consistently in violent conflict since 1989, and where there is no access to government mental healthcare services, researchers have documented a 30-fold increase in mental disorders. Using cell phones, netbooks and other electronic media, researchers will overcome barriers to mental healthcare access by training lay health workers to deliver and evaluate care in the rural Ganderbal district, with particular focus on psychotic, bipolar and depressive disorders, as well as trauma-related problems. The effort will dovetail into existing systems of medical and religious pastoral care, demonstrating a scalable way to reduce the prevalence of untreated mental disorders. Long-term, researchers hope to address the mental health needs of refugees from Kashmir, displaced from their millennia-old ancestral lands and living in miserable conditions in camps outside the Valley. This project receives additional funding from the Graham Boeckh Foundation, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, and Myelin and Associates.