Overview: Diversity in unity and adversity
Few common themes emerge while glancing over the descriptions of mental health services in these six countries of the Indian subcontinent. All the countries are thickly populated (and naturally have large numbers of persons with mental health problems); have very few mental health professionals, especially psychiatrists, for their burden of mental health problems; have political instability and internal conflicts to a lesser or greater extent; suffer from periodic natural disasters and socioeconomic adversity; have numerous unique traditional methods of mental health and medical care; and continue to survive and thrive. By way of development, these nations are becoming urbanized in haphazard ways leading to many societal changes, and erosion of the traditional values and lifestyles. This has thrown challenges at the mental health systems as these transitional societies bring new concerns.