National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences

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National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences
Type Public
  • 1925 as Mental Hospital,[1]
  • 27 December 1974 as NIMHANS
Director Prof. B.N. Gangadhar
Location Bangalore, Karnataka, India
12°56′22.4″N 77°35′55.7″E / 12.939556°N 77.598806°E / 12.939556; 77.598806Coordinates: 12°56′22.4″N 77°35′55.7″E / 12.939556°N 77.598806°E / 12.939556; 77.598806
Campus Urban
Website Official Website

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) is a premier medical institution located in Bangalore, India. NIMHANS was conferred a deemed university status by the University Grants Commission in 1994 and has been declared as an Institute of National Importance by an act of parliament in 2012.[2]

Founding and history[edit]

NIMHANS, a multidisciplinary central government institute in the field of mental health and neurosciences, was the result of the amalgamation of the erstwhile mental hospital and the All India Institute of Mental Health (AIIMH). The Institute was inaugurated on 27 December 1974, establishing it as an autonomous body under the Societies Registration Act to lead in the area of medical service and research in the country.

The Lunatic Asylum which came into being in the latter part of the 19th Century was renamed as Mental Hospital in 1925 by the erstwhile Government of Mysore. This hospital and All India Institute of Mental Health (AIIMH) established in 1954 by Government of India were amalgamated on 27 December 1974, and thus was formed the autonomous National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). Recent years have seen discussions about opening another NIMHANS at Cuttack.[3]

Organization and administration[edit]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the 19th Convocation, 2015.
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences

National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences is a multidisciplinary Institute for patient care and academic pursuit in the frontier area of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences. The priority gradiant adopted at the Institute is service, manpower development and research. Multidisciplinary integrated approach is the mainstay of this institute, paving the way to translate the results from the bench to the bedside.

On November 14, 1994, NIMHANS has been declared a Deemed University by the University Grants Commission, with academic autonomy. The Institute functions under the direction of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka. Several National and International funding organisations provide resources for research.



  • Advanced Centre for Ayurveda
  • Center for Public Health
  • Central Animal Research Facility
  • Centre for Addiction Medicine
  • Library and Information Centre
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Centre
  • Neurobiology Research Centre (NRC)
  • NIMHANS Centre for Well Being
  • Advanced Centre for Yoga
  • Sakalwara Community Mental Health Centre
  • Virtual Learning Centre (VLC)
  • WHO Collaborating Centre for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion

Controversy and criticism[edit]

Increase in deaths[edit]

In its Annual Report for 2013–2014, the institution disclosed that the amount of deaths had increased from 720 in 2011–2012 to 741 in 2013–2014.[4]

Criticism against Juvenile Justice Bill[edit]

Various experts hailing from NIMHANS, in May 2015, lodged criticism against the Juvenile Justice Bill, which was tabled in parliament. Preeti Jacob, from the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, was quoted as saying "Juveniles are less culpable and are much more amenable to rehabilitative efforts and thus should not be transferred to the adult criminal justice system. The assessments that are being proposed in the bill in order to ascertain the mental capacity to commit an offence are arbitrary and unscientific."[5][6][7][8]

Disputing cause of death of civil servant[edit]

In, March, 2015, NIMHANS director commented in news outlets saying that a civil servant's cause of death was not suicide.[9]

Detention and evaluation of whistleblower[edit]

In December 2014, it was reported that a soldier from the Indian Navy was being held in NIMHANS for a month to evaluate whether he was suffering from mental illness, after acting as a whistleblower. After the monthlong evaluation, NIMHANS concluded that the Navy personnel was not suffering from any mental illness.[10][11]

Compelling producer to rename film[edit]

In February, 2014, NIMHANS approached the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce to complain about a movie to be released with the same name. Although initially, the institution was able to block the release of the film if it was named as such, subsequently, the film-maker was able to launch his film without renaming it, once the Censor Board and KFCC approved the name in its second round.[12]

Involvement with aiding investigative agency with interrogation techniques[edit]

In July, 2013, NIMHANS came under controversy when it was revealed by Times of India that it was collaborating with the Central Bureau of Investigation to train its staff with interrogation techniques.[13]

Involvement with suppression of Koodankulam anti-nuclear protests[edit]

It was reported by prominent news sources that the Central Government has approached NIMHANS to suppress anti-nuclear protests regards to building of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. The government asked NIMHANS to dispatch psychiatrists to Kudankulam to counsel protesters. To fulfill the plan, NIMHANS developed a team of 6 members, all of them, from the Department of Social Psychiatry. The psychiatrists were sent to get a "peek a into the protesters' minds" and help them learn the importance of the plant according to one news source.[14][15][16][17][18]

Refusal to admit youth to intensive care unit[edit]

The New Indian Express reported that the family of a 21-year-old individual who died in NIMHANS, complained that, their requests for him being admitted to the ICU, due to his worsening condition, was declined by the staff. The youth, later died, after his condition started to deteriorate.[19]

Negligence of hospital staff regarding mentally disabled man[edit]

An intellectually disabled man who was admitted in NIMHANS for treatment was found to have leaped from the terrace of a building. It was reported that he was under round the clock supervision, but escaped without notice. He was found lying in a pool of blood, and was taken to the Emergency Section of the Hospital.[20]

Involvement in treatment of Bengal talent show contestant[edit]

In 2008, a reality show contestant, Shinjini Sen, after getting reprimanded by the TV show judges, resulted in temporarily losing her voice, and physical mobility. It was alleged by the media that the television show judges' behaviour caused such disability. To resolve her case, she was flown from Kolkata to Bangalore's NIMHANS to be treated for a neurobiological condition.[21][22][23][24] The then medical superintendent told the press:

We can say at this juncture that she could be suffering from depression. Depression does not lead to permanent loss of speech or physical disability. We are diagnosing why that has happened. There could be complex neurological factors leading to such conditions.

— Dr B N Gangadhar, Times Of India[23]

Criticism of WHO report[edit]

In August, 2011, NIMHANS faculty criticized a report published by the World Health Organization. The head of the psychiatry department, S K Chaturvedi, said that the figures by the WHO were highly inflated. Where, in the report, it alleges that 36% of Indians suffer from Depression, the highest among all the countries, the NIMHANS faculty state that the incidence of depression is much lower due to a stronger social support system and family structure.[25]

However, the lifetime prevalence of depression in India measured by the study was only 9%, and the figure of 36% was a different metric[26] that was mistakenly reported as the prevalence rate by some media houses.

Directors of the AIIMH[edit]

  • Dr. M V Govindaswamy (1954–59)
  • Dr. D L N Murti Rao (1960–62)
  • Dr. B D Punekar (1963)
  • Dr. Keki Masani (1963–64)
  • Dr. N C Surya (1965–68)
  • Dr. K Bhaskaran (1969)

Directors of the NIMHANS[edit]

  • Dr. R Martanda Varma (1969–77; 1978–79)
  • Dr. K S Mani (1977–78)
  • Dr. G N Narayana Reddy (1979–89)
  • Dr. S M Channabasavanna (1989–97)
  • Dr. M Gourie-Devi (1997–2002)
  • Dr. D Nagaraja (2002–10)
  • Dr. SK Shankar (2010)
  • Dr. P Satish Chandra (2010–15)
  • Prof. B.N. Gangadhar 2016–[27]

Notable people[edit]

Similar institutes[edit]


  1. ^ About Us.
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  14. ^ Centre to deal anti-nuke mind-set with NIMHANS. Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
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  16. ^ Demonising anti-nuclear protests. (2012-06-15). Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  17. ^ Koodankulam counselling for protestors flayed. The New Indian Express (2012-06-20). Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  18. ^ Plan to counsel anti-nuclear protesters draws flak. The New Indian Express (2012-06-20). Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  19. ^ Youth dies at NIMHANS, family cries foul. The New Indian Express. Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  20. ^ Sukhija, Sheetal. (2011-09-28) Patient under 24X7 watch at NIMHANS leaps off terrace. Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  21. ^ Hope floats as docs work to get Shinjini back on feet – Times Of India. (2008-06-29). Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  22. ^ Dubious ethics of TV talent shows. (2008-04-20). Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  23. ^ a b Shinjini talks, Guv wishes her speedy recovery – Times Of India. (2008-07-02). Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  24. ^ Shinjini stable, say doctors – Times Of India. (2008-07-04). Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
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  27. ^ "Past Directors". Nimhans. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 

External links[edit]