Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has approved the Delhi Health Department’s proposal to constitute the State Mental Health Authority (SMHA). Establishment of SMHA in each state was mandated, according to the Mental Healthcare Act 2017. This move reflects a growing recognition of the importance of addressing mental health issues in society.
The SMHA will be composed of ex-officio members who are government employees, and non-government members. These members will possess their expertise in mental health including psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, caregivers, and representatives from NGOs providing mental health services.
The SMHA is responsible for registration and supervision and the development of mental health care within the state. It is responsible for registering clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, and psychiatric social workers as mental health professionals in the state.
The development of quality care and services for patients’ mental health is aimed for by the SMHA. The standards and guidelines for mental health care providers will be established to ensure that patients receive the appropriate and effective treatment.
Functions of this authority include publishing the list of registered Mental Health Professionals, conducting training programs for mental health professionals, and educating law enforcement officials and healthcare professionals about provisions and implementation of the law.
Mr Vinai Kumar Saxena expressed his concerns about the delay in enacting the Mental Health Care Act by setting up the SMHA. The delay occurred due to the complexities of governance and decision-making.