International Study of Discrimination And Stigma Outcomes (INDIGO)

Indigo is a partnership programme led by Prof Sir Graham Thornicroft from King’s College London with seven other collaborating sites in five different countries (Ethoipia, India, Tunisia, China and Nepal). The project is funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). Dr Pallab K Maulik is the India site investigator who would oversee project activities at Faridabad (Haryana) site. The long term goals behind this partnership programme are to reduce the mental health treatment gap, to reduce stigma against people with mental illness, and positively modify attitudinal barriers within the primary health care, community workers, community members and mental health professionals.

The overall aims of the Indigo Partnership are:

  1. to establish a strong research collaboration to provide the infrastructure for harmonised metrics and to develop stigma reduction interventions, and
  2. to carry out platform activities to strengthen the scientific understanding of mechanisms of action of stigma processes against people with mental illness.

The study duration is for five years and involves various activities involving the key stakeholders throughout each phase. The study will be conducted in Faridabad district at Urban Primary Health Care centres, District Hospital and would involve community members, policy makers, civil society members apart from the primary health care, community workers and mental health professionals. Earlier research in high-income countries has shown that stigma can be reduced and help-seeking can be increased. However, this project will cover low and middle income countries, draw upon lessons learned from high-income countries, but modify and adapt them to local cultures and practices.

Three packages or intervention toolkits will be developed at the end of this project:

  1. a package for community settings,
  2. a package for primary care, and
  3. a package for mental health specialists.

These will be culturally relevant and will be evaluated using pilot interventions. Data collection for the initial phase of formative research to develop the tools and adapt existing tools to local context will commence later this year.