Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 223-242

Telepsychiatry in India – Where do we stand? A comparative review between global and Indian telepsychiatry programs

1 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar, Assam, India

Correspondence Address:
Subrata Naskar
9G, Avenue 1st Road, Kolkata - 700 075, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.207329

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A wide discrepancy exists in India between the existing mental healthcare repertoire and the alarmingly high burden of individuals requiring immediate attention from requisite mental healthcare services. Providing equitable mental healthcare across a vast country characterized by profound cultural variations and territorial caveats has remained a major public health concern. Against this gloomy backdrop, the emergence of distant communications technology offers solace and optimism as an ingenious approach to bridge the existing gap between clients and mental health professionals. Using inexpensive equipment and basic technical knowhow, telepsychiatry expands the scope of the discipline to distant and hazy suburbs and villages from its urban centers of excellence. The current academic endeavor intends to perform a systematic review of relevant literature from India as well as from other countries. The various models of telepsychiatry-both asynchronous and synchronous models-in practice have been elaborated on with a focus on effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of this latest modality. A sincere attempt to chronicle the remarkable journey of telepsychiatry in India, beginning in the dawn of the 21st century to the current Indian scenario, has been made. The legal and ethical issues, along with a few words of caution and contemplation, have been briefly touched on. A set of recommendations has been provided with the hope that policy makers and administrators in the domain of mental health may benefit from them. It is anticipated that telepsychiatry will be adequately utilized in India to tackle the raging menace of inadequate mental healthcare services.

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