Year : 2019 | Volume
: 61 | Issue : 10 | Page : 634-
Message from Vice President, Indian Psychiatric Society
Vice President, Indian Psychiatric Society, Department of Psychiatry, K. G. Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Dr. P K Dalal
Department of Psychiatry, K. G. Medical University, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
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Dalal P K. Message from Vice President, Indian Psychiatric Society.Indian J Psychiatry 2019;61:634-634
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Dalal P K. Message from Vice President, Indian Psychiatric Society. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 May 27 ];61:634-634
Available from: http://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2019/61/10/634/255580
It is a matter of great pleasure that the Indian Psychiatric Society is releasing a special supplement on Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA) 2017. MHCA got the assent of the honorable president of India on April 7, 2017, which is also the World Health Day. The supplement is being released two years down the line on April 7, 2019. The Act focuses on the rights of persons with mental illness, and the main essence of the Act lies in Chapter V. The preamble of the Act says that mental health care services should be provided to mentally ill persons and the delivery should protect, promote, and fulfill the rights of such persons. It includes the people suffering from severe mental illness which grossly impairs judgment, behavior, and capacity to recognize the reality or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life. The Act is indeed progressive, but the applicability on the Indian population needs to be evaluated further.
The Act gives due importance to confidentiality and accessibility to health-care services. However, the problem lies in the community care provisions. In the Indian setting, family remains the main source of social and financial support and also bears the caregiver burden of the patients. Indian culture and the lack of a trained workforce make family a pillar of support in the country. The concepts of advance directive and nominated representative result in the opinions of the family getting a much lesser priority. This concept appears to be borrowed from the developed Western countries. The adoption of such policies would be difficult with such scarcity of resources and services.
MHCA regulates all mental health establishments including both public and private sectors and alternative health systems. The rehabilitation services have been strengthened by providing regulations about discharge planning and also the provisions of halfway homes post discharge. Specific duties have been assigned to appropriate governments in stigma reduction, development of human resources, and organization of public health programs to tackle suicide. There is also decriminalization of suicide which would help in managing this group in a better way.
As with any change, there are mixed opinions about MHCA also. However, one needs to have a detailed knowledge about the Act to comment on its utility, applicability, and ways of implementation. The supplement will serve this purpose of enriching the knowledge of all mental health professionals regarding MHCA and thus would help them in making informed decisions.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.