State Govt constitutes Mental Health Authority

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Oct 2018 10:20:16


Staff Reporter,

The Authority will ensure implementation of Mental Health Care Act guidelines

The Public Health Department of Maharashtra has constituted State Mental Health Authority for taking measures for the implementation of guidelines mentioned in the Mental Health Care Act 2017. Apart from the officials, the authority will also have two persons representing who have had mental illness, to be nominated by the State Government.

The Mental Healthcare Act was enacted in 2017. But its guidelines were not implemented.
Now, to ensure proper implementation of the guidelines of the Act, a committee has been constituted.
Dr Abhishek Somani, Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH) said, “After the Act came into existence, steps were needed for its proper implementation. The committee, now, will chalk out how the rights of mentally ill persons will be addressed, whether any kind of forced treatment is being given to them, whether proper care is taken during treatment. Apart from the precautions, the committee is expected to think over several other important aspects.”

Dr Pravin Navkhare, Superintendent at Mental Hospital, Nagpur, elaborated the purpose of the authority. He explained, “State Mental Health Authority will be supreme as far as implementation of the Act is concerned. It will not only have officials and non-officials-- the two components, but also Psychiatrists, even representatives of the patients. The committee is very comprehensive and will look after every minute things of the Act.

“The functions of the authority are very clear. The guidelines of the Act to be implemented, to see what standard rules are applied for psychiatric nursing homes etc. There is a provision of maintaining confidentiality, whether advanced directives are being followed by the psychiatrists or not. These aspects also will be addressed properly by the Authority,” added Dr Navkhare.

Dr Nikhil Pande, noted Psychiatrist welcomed the move by the Government. He said, “Though all the details yet are not available, the authority is comprehensive as it has members from all the sectors. It is a very important aspect. Because, psychiatry is inclusive of several other things. It is evident that life expectancy has increased. People suffer from various mental illnesses. During that period, apart from our role, the understanding of relatives play vital part. I feel this authority would bring all round change in mental health sector. The Act came as good thing but ultimately its implementation in a proper manner carrries weight. It will be done by the Authority.”

Constitution of the Authority
The 14-member authority has complete dominance over Mumbai and Thane except one member in the category of ‘Two persons representing non-governmental organisations which provide services to person with mental illness’. Her name is Dr Sally John of Sanjivani Ashram, Wardha in Vidarbha.

Chairperson ex-officio- Principal Secretary in Department; Member Ex-officio- Joint Secretary; Ex-officio Member Secretary- Director; Member Ex-officio- Joint Secretary, Social Welfare; Members ex-officio - Commissioner, Health Services; DMER; Head of Psychiatry Department, J J Medical College, Mumbai; Additional Director (Mental Health); Nominated members : Head of any of the Mental Hospitals in the State or Head of Department Of Psychiatry at any Government Medical College; one eminent psychiatrist from the State not in Government service; One mental health professional; one psychiatric social worker having at least fifteen years experience in the field; one clinical psychologist having at least fifteen years experience in the field; one mental health nurse having at least fifteen years experience in the field; two persons representing who have or have had mental illness; two persons representing care-givers of persons with mental illness or organisation representing care-givers; two persons representing non-governmental organisations which provide services to person with mental illness.