What Are The Drawbacks Of This Act?
Here are the main shortcomings of this act:
- It declares mental illnesses as a clinical problem that can be treated by merely the use of medicines and clinical procedures. There’s no emphasis on the prevention of these illnesses and even the importance of mental well-being has been neglected.
- The definition of a ‘mental health professional’ hasn’t been made clear. The act fails to clearly list out the difference between a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, psychiatris, and counsellor.
- Mental issues are considered to be a big taboo in our country. No provisions have been listed in the act to teach the society about the reality of mental illnesses.
- A complete list of treatment options is also not mentioned anywhere in the act that leads to confusion.
- No provision has been given for hearing of the cases that were submitted before the drafting of the bill.
- There are no options for the aftercare of patients.
- Since no provisions have been made for home-based treatment, the overall cost of treatment goes up.
What Are The Important Features Of This Act?
Here are some of the most crucial features of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017:
- Mental health care should be available to everyone through both public and private services. Every person has the right to access these facilities which must be readily available and affordable.
- A person who needs mental health care has the right to choose the way of treatment, and in case they are incapable of doing so, they can nominate someone to do it on their behalf.
- Central and state mental health authorities are responsible for maintaining a record of all mental health establishments, developing quality service, training law enforcement officials and advice the government on matters of mental health.
- One of the major developments that this bill brought into effect was the decriminalisation of suicide. If anyone tries to commit suicide, they will no longer be punished under the Indian Penal Code. Instead, it will be the government’s duty to look after their proper treatment and care. This will help reduce their chances of re-attempting the same.
- Another significant development under the same bill is—the provision of insurance for people suffering from mental illnesses. Most health insurers will be asked to cover various mental illnesses under Health Insurance cover. The only drawback about this progressive move is that it’ll raise the premium rates.
There are some customised plans provided by Apollo Munich that already offer a cover for mental illnesses. However, in most other cases, these illnesses are treated on an out-patient basis. The most important question that rises here is—why do we need to fight to get mental illnesses covered under Health Insurance. Why can’t they be considered as serious as a physical health condition?
There are various reasons behind mental health still being a taboo in India and this indirectly results in no cover for mental illnesses under various Health Insurance plans.
It’s so important for people to gossip about the mental health of someone and call them names, that they forget how negatively it can affect a person. If someone trusts you and shares something about their mental health, it automatically becomes your responsibility to keep that a secret. Unless you’re ready to commit to keeping their secrets safe, don’t get involved with them. But once they trust you, don’t let them down.