Health care in India is a controversial affair. Here treatment facilities are widely available but sometimes either they are costly or not easily accessible for mass. This is especially applicable for mental health treatment facility of Indian citizens. Therefore a great gap sustains between the availability of treatment and the actual reach of the facilities. Common people do suffer due to this anomaly and it ignites grudge and dissatisfaction in mass.
What is the Mental Health Bill?
Recently, RajyaSabhahas passed a bill to eliminate this anomaly in distribution and reach of mental health care facility in India. On last Monday, 8th August, 2016 a bill is sanctioned that has announced the legal provision and better health care for Indian citizens suffering from mental illness. However, in accordance to this bill it has been accepted by health care ministry that India still needs adequate infrastructure and number of psychiatrists to serve the need. The bill passed recently was introduced in the year 2013 and repels the old Mental Health Act of 1987.
The directive of the mental health bill
According to the bill, every individual Indian citizen will enjoy the right for availing inexpensive and good quality treatment along with easy access to related health care services.
Right of equality
According to the summary prepared by PRS Legislative, a research organization, persons suffering from mental illness will be able to get the right of equality in terms of treatment, enjoy protection from inhuman and humiliating treatment.
Supportive services related to treatment
In addition to this, patients will be facilitated with free legal services, access to their medical records, and the right to complain about lack of adequate/suitable mental health care arrangement.
The bill also comprises an advance instructionthat means a person suffering from mental illness may decide how she or he wants to be treated and he/she can decide his her nominee, who will be deciding the mode of treatments on his/her behalf. This instruction will be licensed by a medical practitioner.
Improvisation in health organization
According to PRS Legislative summary, every mental health institution has to be listedunderapplicable Central or State Mental Health Authority. In order to be listed, the establishment has to fulfill various criteria prescribed in the bill.
The bill also emphasizes the procedure and practice to be monitored for admission, treatment, and release of mentally-ill individuals. Under the provision of this bill, suicide is no more a criminal attempt and electroconvulsive theory is marked as prohibited therapy as the treatment for mental illness.
Change in therapeutic process
According to this new bill, the person charged under attempt of suicide will be considered as patients suffering from mental illness.Further treatment for this person will be arranged so that his/her mental balance can be restored. What was a punishable act under Indian Penal Code, now under the amendment of the bill, deserves medical intervention. Further, the use of electro-convulsive therapy is done under restricted condition and under the sedation of anesthesia and muscle relaxants. However, under all circumstances, this therapy is not applicable for minors as a process of treatment.
The health bill has ignited the possibility of reformation in a large scale in treatment process in Indian health system. Now we need to check the implementation of the amendment in real life.
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