Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 181-186

Mental health and the law: An overview and need to develop and strengthen the discipline of forensic psychiatry in India


Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Pratima Murthy
Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru - 560 027, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.196828

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Human rights and mental health care of vulnerable population need supportive legislations and policies. Both "hard" and "soft" laws relevant to mental health care have been devised internationally and locally. Amendments in laws and the formulation of new laws are often required and have been seen to occur in the area of mental health care in India. So far, reform in mental health care has largely been reactive, but newer legislations and policies carry the hope of proactive reform. The lack of trained human resources is one of the biggest problems in effective mental health care delivery in India. While postgraduate psychiatric guidelines recommend a 2-week training in forensic psychiatry, this is insufficient to develop the necessary competence in the area. There is, thus, a need to develop subspecialty of forensic psychiatry. Forensic psychiatric services also need to be developed, properly structured, and supported. There is a need to set up one or more centers of excellence in forensic psychiatry in India.



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