India has a population of over 800 million of which about 20 million are suffering from a mental illness. In terms of numbers of patients alone, mental health planners are presented with quite a challenge. How the challenge is being met is the topic of this article. Governmental efforts need to be augmented by voluntary agencies and private practitioners for optimal mental health care. Despite deficiencies, India is a pace setter for many developing countries. It has the political will to initiate needed changes. Aftercare services for the mentally ill should be a top future priority.

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