MENTAL HEALTHCARE ACT (MHA), 2017
WHY IN NEWS?
- In a recently released report by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC flagged the “inhuman and deplorable” condition of all 46 government – run mental healthcare institutions across the country.
IMPORTANT PROVISIONS OF MHA ACT, 2017
- This Act superseded the previously existing Mental Health Act, 1987 that was passed on 22 May 1987.
- The act effectively decriminalized attempted suicide which was punishable under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.
- The Act asserts that no person or authority shall classify an individual as a person with mental illness unless in directly in relation with treatment of the illness.
- The Act seeks to fulfill India’s international obligation pursuant to the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol.
- The Mental Health Care Act 2017 includes provisions for the registration of mental health related institutions and for the regulation of the sector.
- The responsibilities of other agencies such as the police with respect to people with mental illness has been outlined in the 2017 Act.
- The Mental Health Care Act 2017 has additionally vouched to tackle stigma of mental illness, and has outlined some measures on how to achieve the same.
- Under the MHA, all States are required to establish a State Mental Health Authority and Mental Health Review Boards (MHRBs) — bodies that can further draft standards for mental healthcare institutes, oversee their functioning and ensure they comply with the Act.
- It has significantly reduced the scope for the use of Section 309 IPC and made the attempt to commit suicide punishable only as an exception.
IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH
- The World Health Organization evaluated “In India, the economic damage, due to mental health conditions, within 2012-2030, is 1.03 trillions of 2010 dollars”.
- The National Mental Health Programme saw a reduced allocation from Rs 50 crore the previous year to Rs 40 crore for 2019-20 against the entire healthcare budget amounting Rs 61,398 crore.
- The social and economic costs associated with growing burden of mental ill health focused the possibilities for promoting mental health as well as preventing and treating mental illness.
- It plays an important part in the health of your relationships, and allows you to adapt to changes in your life and cope with adversity.
CHALLENGES UNDER THE ACT
- While the MHA safeguards the rights of people in mental healthcare establishments, it lacks enforcement challenges.
- Almost 36.25% of residential service users at state psychiatric facilities were found to be living for one year or more in these facilities, according to a 2018 report by the Hans Foundation.
- State Mental Health Authority and Mental Health Review Boards (MHRBs) are yet to be established or remain defunct in many states.
- Many States have not notified minimum standards which are meant to ensure the quality of MHEs.
- Poor budgetary allocation and utilisation of funds creates a scenario where shelter homes remain underequipped, establishments understaffed, and professionals and service providers not adequately trained to deliver proper healthcare.
- The dearth of alternative community-based services further complicates access to rehabilitation.
- The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) was not taken on board, unlike in the case of the Mental Health Act (MHA), 1987
- The caregivers’ rights and burden of care are not adequately addressed.
- MHCA 2017 comes out to be a praiseworthy effort for addressing the long-standing problems encountered by patients and clinicians in the sector of mental health.
- Integrating interventions across health, education and social protection sectors – including parenting programmes and ensuring schools support mental health.
- There is a big need to popularize and advertize the availability of psychiatric emergency services, options of pick-up from homes, and psychiatric ambulances.
- We need to focus on suicide prevention strategies, especially for those who are the most vulnerable, like the farmer groups.
SOURCE : THE HINDU
SYLLABUS : MAINS, GOVERNANCE