National consultation on new mental health bill today

Protection of the rights of persons with mental illness, the need for greater focus on community care, and issues related to the relationship between illness and disability are among topics that will be discussed during a national consultation on the proposed Mental Health Care Bill 2010 here on Tuesday.

The bill, piloted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is expected to replace the Mental Health Act 1987, which has been found lacking on many counts, including complaints of abuse of the law and of the rights of persons with mental illness.

Legislation regarding disability is currently contained in the Persons with Disability Act 1995 and The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999.

The Persons with Disabilities Act is also being separately discussed with a view to making major changes.

The Ministry decided to amend the Mental Health Act and the draft amendment was discussed at consultations held in Chandigarh, Pune, Bangalore, Ranchi and Tezpur last year, following which a rewritten draft bill was put into the public domain for discussion.

The standard prevalence rate of severe mental illness in all countries around the world is about 3 per cent, and assuming India has a population of 1.2 billion, it would mean that about 36 million people live with long-term severe mental illness.

Community care

Statistics suggest that 0.075 per cent of persons with several mental illness in India are in long-stay institutions while the rest are in the community. In the absence of any publicly provided community care services and resources, community care in the country is largely family-based care.

Representatives of all State governments, doctors and those involved in the administration of the District Mental Health Programme, caregivers and persons living with mental illness are expected to participate in the consultation. Officers from the Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Women and Child Development, Home Affairs and Legal Affairs, and the National Human Rights Commission and the National Trust have also been invited.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 8:49:54 AM |

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