In a landmark legislation, the Mental Healthcare Bill passed in Lok Sabha on Monday 27th March 2017.
The Mental Healthcare Bill aims to provide for the right to better healthcare for mentally ill patients and decriminalises suicide.
The bill will decriminalise suicide attempt by mentally ill people. The bill also provides for the right to better health care for people suffering from mental illness.
Rajya Sabha had passed the Bill in August last year with 134 official amendments. Health Minister J P Nadda said that the ‘The Mental Healthcare Bill’ has provisions to protect and restore the property right of the mentally ill people.
Here is all that you need to know about the much talked about bill:
- A person who attempts suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from mental illness at that time and will not be punished under the Indian Penal Code.
- Every person shall have the right to access mental health care and treatment from services run or funded by the government. Free treatment will be provided to homeless or those belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL), even if they do not possess a BPL card.
- A mentally ill person shall have the right to make an advance directive that states how he wants to be treated.
- After following the advance directive, medical practitioners and health professionals cannot be held liable for any unforeseen consequences.
- Central Mental Health Authority needs to be set-up at national-level, and State Mental Health Authority for every State.
- Every mental health establishment and practitioners (such as clinical psychologists, mental health nurses and psychiatric social workers) have to be registered with the relevant Central or State Mental Health Authority.
- Electro-convulsive therapy – commonly known as electric shock therapy – will only be allowed with the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia. Also, the therapy will now be prohibited for minors.
- Sterilisation cannot be performed on a mentally ill person.
- Information pertaining to a person with mental illness cannot be released to media without his/her consent.
- Punishment for flouting the provisions of the Bill can land the violator in jail for six months or a fine of Rs 10,000 can be imposed or both. Repeat offenders can face up to two years in jail or a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh or both.