NHRC Shows Concern for Restructuring Mental Health Facilities

NHRC Shows Concern for Restructuring Mental Health Facilities


India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was founded on October 12th, 1993. The Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993, as amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006, is the law that founded it.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is an actual demonstration of India’s dedication to the advancement and defence of human rights, which are recognised by Indian courts as the rights to “life, liberty, equality, and dignity of the person” and protected by the Constitution or by international agreements. On World Mental Health Day, NHRC expressed concern over the difficulties faced by people with mental health issues. It recommended that most mental health facilities across the nation be restructured to meet modern standards for technology, amenities, and services.

Steps Taken for Mental Health by NHRC:

The commission has written to the Health Ministry and all concerned authorities of the Union/State governments/Union territory administrations outlining an “advisory on mental health featuring a set of recommendations” in addition to seeking measures to increase accessibility to treatments for mental disorders for populations who are financially disadvantaged.

The letter states that everyone is urged to put the recommendations into action and submit an Action Taken Report [ATR] within two months. It also stresses the importance of integrating mental health care into the community, which provides opportunities for people to interact with peers, engage in worthwhile activities, and make contributions to society, in addition to medication and therapy.
According to the NHRC, all States should give priority to creating review boards, authorities for mental health, and rules and regulations as required by the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.

Various Suggestions for Mental Health Facilities by NHRC:

The panel emphasised the need for amenities and infrastructure, saying that while there should be distinct wards for children and teens, facilities with specific care for the older population with mental illness also need to be built in all facilities.
Additionally, “Patients shouldn’t be required to remain in solitary confinement or isolation in amenities, and they shouldn’t be retained even for a day after having been declared suitable for discharge” suggesting that facilities should think about adding more family wards to better treat patients for mental illnesses close to their families while ensuring adequate support.

The commission has additionally advocated for maintaining digital record keeping, creating facilities like internal diagnostic and pathology labs, and making medications and essential equipment accessible. “Insurance policies and programmes should cover the treatment of mental illness in order to increase the accessibility and affordability of mental health services. To that end, a well-organized programme called the District Mental Health Programme [DMHP] may be created with the help of community workers in each district” it added.

The NHRC has emphasised the necessity for the creation of PG seats to alleviate the shortage of educated human resources. It added that training modules should be created to instruct non-psychiatric doctors, ASHA employees, and other frontline workers in basic diagnosis. The report recommended that psychiatry be incorporated into the undergraduate medical curriculum as well as a separate discipline.
The commission has also underlined the need for public education on mental health concerns.

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