India’s population count, particularly for the mentally affected and the ill patients, are about 70 million in number, with only about 4000 psychiatrists and who are concentrated more on the developed areas and cities of the nation. In the worldwide count of the major issue of suicide, about 17%, that is, 1, 35,000 people are the Indian residents. Since these critical statistics do exist for the mental health of our nation, new policies, laws and legislation are brought up to ensure care and treatment for the mentally ill patients. One significant policy that came into force on October 10th 2014 was the National Mental Health Policy-NMHP. The NMHP of India, according to the World Health Organization, WHO, defines the need to reduce the stress and burden of mental illness and also to bring about effective treatment strategies and protocols. This includes the judgments, opinions, and values of the Indian Government for mental health.
VISIONS OF THE NMHP:
The primary visions of the National Mental Health Policy include;
- Promoting and preventing mental illness.
- Affordable and quality health care to all.
- Enabling the recovery from any mental illness.
- Promotion of de-segregation and de-stigmatization.
- The inclusion of the mentally ill individual into the socioeconomic settings.
PRINCIPLES OF THE NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH POLICY:
The basic vital principles from the policy’s ethos are namely the justice for the excluded community of the society, quality standards of mental health services for even the local users, evidencing of the care through proper researches and intervention strategies, equity in terms of every aspect of occupational, social, educational, and economic factors, training and teaching for all based on core life values like integrity, accountability and empathy, approach that is holistic in intervention combining various aspects of the person’s physical and mental areas, and rights and participation of the mentally ill with respective locations of functioning with care, trust, respect, and guidance.
GOALS OF THE NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH POLICY:
The inter alia goals of the National Mental Health Policy include the following;
- To improve the understanding of mental health appropriately among Indian citizens.
- To promote a higher number of skilled community intervention developers, mental health professionals, and wise human resources for spreading awareness and targeting the population.
- To increase the access to mental health care and treatment procedures for the most vulnerable and the ethnic minorities of various states of India.
- To drastically eliminate the stigma, stereotypes, and labeling of the mentally affected and ill patients and to treat them with care and empathy in the society.
- To reduce the general issues that arises out of a mental illness like distress, morbidity, premature mortality, and other problems relating to exclusion among society.
The Indian Government also raises funds for the cost of bringing down these valuable measures into action. Keeping in mind the count of mental health professionals in the country, the Government has introduced 15 new centres in the field of excellence in mental health and also 35 special PG educational training programs for individuals in various mental health specialties across states of India. Also, sufficient levels of cash funds are provided for few Indian Central Institutions like the National Institute of Mental Health And NeuroSciences in Bangalore, Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi, and the Lokopriya Gopinath Regional Institute of Mental Health in Tezpur.
A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE DISTRICT MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMME
The District Mental Health Policy, DMHP was introduced under the NMHP and it has its focus upon the district and local areas of few states. Total of 106 districts were covered in the time period of 5 years and scaling is now seen up to 642 district areas till the date. DHMP’s objectives are;
- Providing sustainable mental health services to minor communities and connecting them all with the other necessary resources.
- Treating and rehabilitating the mentally ill inside the community itself.
- Giving educational advice and precautions to the general public of the society for removing the stigmas and taboos associated with the mentally ill persons.
- Early finding, detection and the guided treatment methods to be established within the small framework of a community or any given area effectively.
The law even provides clinically supportive services and aids for people along with effective strategies and prevention interventions through the district mental health centres.
LOOKING INTO THE MENTAL HEALTH POLICY GROUP:
- Providing the required resources and services for appropriate groups and individuals like rehabilitation, advocacy, and essential procurements of the available drugs.
- Recording and reviewing the data collected and saved for further future health analysis and implementation.
- Preparing the financial aids needed for the respective mental health care program and implanting the action across various areas mentioned in the plan guide.
- Giving accurate and proper guidelines, standards, and procedures regarding the values and actions from the plan and mental health policies followed.
- Drafting ideas and judgments based upon the evidence kept in mind from the National Mental Health Act and other Policy and also recommendations and suitable modifications for the necessary parts of the plan.
- Ensuring immediate and proper health concerns and care for the mentally terminated and ill persons.
- Also considering the anticipation of future policies and providing resources by having the coming years in mind, into the presently given framework of mental health goals.
The National Mental Health Policy along with the laws of the Mental Health Act of India, July 2017, sets forth the values pertaining to the mandatory medical insurance of individuals by the orders from the IRDAI, for those who are affected mentally, with effect, similar to physical illness insurance. There now exists a new pathway towards a better and a healthy India in terms of the mental health of people, with the enforcing of these laws and the cross-cutting issues existing among people across the nation!
KEY ELEMENTS OF THE LATEST NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH POLICY:
- The scope for providing treatments and effective cure for patients who are especially in the childhood and in the adolescence and identifying birth disorders and other genetic abnormalities.
- Special Forces and aids for serving the neonatal health and the women who are in their maternity period.
- Screening programs and action plans for the malnourished and poverty-stricken groups of various social and ethnic backgrounds.
- Ensuring compulsory vaccination and mental, cognitive, behavioral assessments for children of all ages, based on the study of various epidemiological studies on mental health.
- Providing the power of psycho-social knowledge among the primary households of India.
- Donating the necessary drugs and medications for the economically weaker individuals, for their mental illnesses.
- Leveraging the digital technology for queries and other issues to be resolved for the public.
A PEEK INTO THE MENTAL HEALTHCARE ACT:
The Mental Health Care Act of April 2017 which replaced the earlier versions of 1987, puts emphasis on the promotion and protection of the mentally ill persons and giving them the necessary individual rights needed. This act that is extended to the whole Indian community, works under the National and the internationally accepted mental coding and standards for treatment and not merely conforming or predicting behaviours and well-being of people from their social, occupational or their cultural contexts, or considerations of past hospitalizations. There are 16 fixed chapters, each concerning various criteria, treatment protocols, standardization, review boards, authorities, penalties and offences and other factors that are vital for any mental health establishment or organization.