Tamil Nadu

Selection of members for mental health review boards under process

‘Body will play a pivotal role in treatment, rehabilitation’

The selection of chairperson and members of District Mental Health Review Boards is under process and will be completed in the next few weeks. Once the members are nominated, the 13 boards will start functioning.

The State Mental Health Authority (SMHA) is currently processing the applications. It had called for applications for appointment to various positions last month.

The boards are headquartered at Chennai, Tiruvallur, Vellore, Villupuram, Salem, Erode, Tiruchi, Ramanathapuram, Theni, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Madurai. Except in Chennai, the boards will cover two to three districts each. “We are currently processing the applications. The process will be completed in the next few weeks,” an official said.

As per the Mental Healthcare Act, the board should consist of a district judge or an officer of the State judicial services who is qualified to be appointed as district judge or retired district judge as chairperson. It should have two members including a psychiatrist and two members such as those with mental illness or care-givers or NGOs working in the field of mental health.

Periodic reviews

Officials said the board would play a pivotal role in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients at the district-level. One of the main responsibilities of the board is to take up periodic review of supported admissions/involuntary admissions.

This was admission of a person with mental illness without his/her consent or against his/her wish, officials said. “The main aim of the Act is to rehabilitate patients so that they can go back into the society. In many cases, patients are admitted and they stay for more than one or two years. Supported admissions need monitoring and supervision. So, the boards will take up periodic reviews of such cases,” he added. This could be at any hospital where psychiatric patients are admitted — a government or private hospital, medical college hospital, nursing home, de-addiction centre or private psychiatry facility.

“The medical officer of the mental health establishment should inform the respective mental health review board of such an admission in three days in case of an adult and within 24 hours if it is a woman or minor,” he said.

The admission of all minors should be with the consent of legal guardian and should be reviewed by the board within three weeks, he added.

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Printable version | Mar 23, 2020 10:25:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/selection-of-members-for-mental-health-review-boards-under-process/article29122415.ece

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