In 1994 the State Mental Health Authority Tamil Nadu (SMHA-TN) was formed as a statutory body under section 4 of the Mental Health Act, 1987.It is functioning under the superintendence, direction and control of the Government of Tamil Nadu. While the Secretary to Government, Health & Family Welfare Department is its chairman, seven other officials are its members and three prominent personalities in the field of psychiatry are its non-official members. The authority is mandated with the responsibility of developing regulating and coordinating mental health services in the state of Tamil Nadu.
         The prime function of the Authority is to provide/ extend services to all stakeholders involved in Mental Health care. The multi stakeholders in this arena include the Government Mental Health Hospitals/units besides the private organisations including NGOs, Rehabilitation homes and De-addiction centres etc
         The Institute of Mental Health at Chennai is the major Hospital under the Government sector offering all mental health related services. Further the Departments of Psychiatry headed by a senior Psychiatrist are functioning in all the Government run Medical College hospital taking care teaching psychiatry to the medical students and providing treatment to mentally ill patients. These apart Psychiatry units are being run in the entire District headquarters hospitals in the State In so far as private sector is concerned there are a number of Private Mental Health Nursing Homes / Hospitals for which licences are granted by the Director, Institute of Mental Health.
The State Mental Health Authority provides mental health related services which includes:-

  1. Supervising the psychiatric hospitals/Nursing homes and other Mental Health Service Agencies.
  2. Advise the State Government on all matters relating to Mental Health.
  3. Advocate for integration of mental health in general health care and in all social Development sectors.

In short, the SMHA is striving to enhance the level of participatory roll of Government Mental Health hospitals/units, private organisations and the society at large, in taking care of the mentally ill patients. In addition, this Authority strives to integrate the various agencies involved in the Mental Health care and adopt a bottom-up approach in resolving the issues involving mental disorders. From the societical point of view, SMHA aims to increase the level of awareness and acceptance of the people towards the mentally ill patients and to provide a platform for harnessing their potential in order to bring them in the mainstream of the society.