Mental Health Care Act 2017: Completely Revised! As per the new guidelines stated by the government, the Mental Health Care Act 2017 completely differs from its previous act of 1987. The Mental Health Care Act was passed on 7th April 2017 and came into action on 7th July 2018.
“An Act to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of such persons during delivery of mental healthcare and services and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
So, let’s get on with the changes or revisions made in the new Mental Health Care Act 2017
Revisions Made in Mental Health Care Act 2017
Decriminalizing the Attempt to Commit Suicide
The new Mental Health Care Act decriminalizes attempt to commit suicide. It does so by seeking to ensure that opportunities of rehabilitation are offered by the government to individuals who have attempted suicide. They will no longer be tried or punished by the court of law for their attempts.
Fulfillment of The Country’s International Obligations
The revised Mental Health Care Act fulfills India’s obligation towards the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the optional protocol attached with the convention.
Empowerment of Persons Suffering From Mental Illness
The current and newly revised act seems to empower persons suffering from mental illness. In this manner, it is completely different from the Mental Health Care Act of 1987. As per the new act, it recognizes people suffering from mental illness and allows them to make decisions regarding their health. This condition is only valid for people who are capable of doing so.
Safeguarding Rights of People With Mental Illness
The new act safeguards the constitutional rights of citizens with mental illness. They are granted the same rights as any individual without mental illness. In addition to this, the new act also grants access to treatment and healthcare without any discrimination from the government.
Apart from this, insurers can now also make their own provisions for medical insurance for treatment of their mental illness. The treatment will be considered similar to treatment of physical ailments.
Provisions and Regulations of Mental Health Care Institutions
The guidelines of the Mental Health Care Act 2017 also include provisions for the registration of mental health institutions as well as for the regulation sector. These measures include setting up mental health organizations or establishment across the country. The intent of this action is to make sure that no person with mental illness has to travel far away from their residence for the purpose of treatment. These establishments will also create a regulatory body known as the mental health review board.
Restriction For The Usage Of ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy)
The new Mental Health Care Act restrict usage of ECT only in emergency cases. It is mandatory to use muscle relaxants and anesthesia while giving Electroconvulsive therapy. Also, the act prohibits usage of ECT for minors.
Responsibility Of Police & Other Agencies
The Mental Health Care Act 2017 outlines the responsibility of police as well as other agencies towards people suffering from mental illness.
Vouching for Handling The Stigma of Mental Illness
The new act has created measures to tackle the stigma of mental illness in our society.
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