Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 660-666

Mental Healthcare Act 2017 – Aspiration to action


1 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Spandana Health Care, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vinay Basavaraju
Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_91_19

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There is no health without mental health. Recently conducted National Mental Health Survey quoted a prevalence of 13.7% lifetime and 10.6% current mental morbidity. To address this mammoth problem, an aspirational law was enacted titled “Mental Healthcare Act, 2017” (MHCA 2017). The act is progressive and rights based in nature. The whole dedicated Chapter 5 on “Rights of the person with mental illness” is the heart and soul of this legislation. However, the act mainly focuses on the rights of the persons with mental illness (PMI), only during treatment in hospital but is not equally emphatic about continuity of treatment in the community. The act fails to acknowledge and foster the role and contribution of family members in providing care to PMI. Although there are many positive aspects to the MHCA 2017, it may impact adversely on the mental health care in India. This article focuses on the shortcomings and challenges of the act and also makes attempts to offer alternatives considering the available resources and ground reality. Concepts such as “Advance directives” and “Nominated representatives” appear to be very attractive, idealistic, and aspirational, but not evidenced based in the Indian context considering the resources. The act fails to make an impact even after 22 months to attain the goal, and will require pervasive efforts to fulfil a purpose that directs its development. This law needs to be amended as per the local resources and requirements of the society.



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