Curtain Raiser NHRC’s day long National Level Review Meeting on Mental Health begins in New Delhi on 7 August, 2019 (05.08.2019)

New Delhi, 5th August, 2019

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India is organizing a National Level Review Meeting on Mental Health on 7 August 2019 at India International Centre, New Delhi. Mr. Justice H.L.Dattu, Chairperson NHRC will inaugurate it. Besides, the NHRC Member, Mr. Justice P.C.Pant, Secretary General, Mr. Jaideep Govind and Joint Secretary, Mr. Dilip Kumar and other officers, the participants would include the representatives of the concerned Union Ministries, State Governments, State Human Rights Commissions, Medical Council of India, Nursing Council of India, Directors of Mental Health Institutes, Mental Health Experts, NGOs and civil society organizations will be participating.

Assessment of the status of implementation of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 will be one of the key subjects for the discussions. The related aspects to it to be discussed are as follows:

a. Making of Mental Healthcare Rules, 2018: Whether States have made the rules for carrying out the provision of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. If yes what matters have been included? (Section 121(2) Mental Healthcare Act, 2017)

b. State Mental Health Authority: Whether State Mental Health Authority has been constituted by the State Governments? (Section 45, Mental Healthcare Act, 2017).

c. Mental Health Review Boards: Whether the Mental Health Review Boards have been constituted by the State Governments? (Section 73, Mental Healthcare Act, 2017)

d. Development of norms for quality and service provision of different types of mental health establishments in the State: Whether the norms for quality & service provision of diffe3rent types of emtal health establishments in the State developed? (Section 55(a), Mental Healthcare, Act 2017)

e. Trainings: How many trainings have been carried out for law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, health professionals (Section 55(e), Mental Healthcare Act, 2017).

f. Status of manpower in the area of mental health: Number of Sanctioned posts, Number of incumbents and Number of vacant positions of Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatric Social Worker and Mental Health Nurses in each State/UT.

These issues will be part of discussions in the three thematic Technical Sessions. The Technical Session-I will be on the Status of Mental Healthcare in India and the Technical Session-II will be on Status of Implementation of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017: best practices and bottlenecks. In the Technical Session-III, there will be panel discussion on Access to Mental Healthcare-integration of mental health services into general healthcare services and strengthening of manpower in the area of mental healthcare services.

The Commission has been playing the role of a catalyst to ensure direct action for the protection of the rights of the vulnerable sections of the society, including the mentally ill persons. In 1997, as per the directions given by the Supreme Court of India in W.P (Criminal) No. 1900/1981, Dr. Upendra Buxi V/s. State of Uttar Pradesh and others, it has been monitoring the functioning of three mental hospitals in Agra, Gwalior and Ranchi. In the same year, NHRC took up an important project on quality assurance in mental health which was entrusted to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences at Bangalore. This project raised several seminal issues regarding the concern and care of the mentally ill, particularly in the institutions.

Subsequently, on its own initiative, the NHRC started monitoring the functioning of all the mental hospitals in the country. The Chairperson, Members, Special Rapporteurs and senior officials of the Commission have been visiting the mental hospitals to study the living conditions of mentally ill persons in there hospitals and bring to the notice of the concerned State Governments, the need for improvement.

The Commission also constituted a Core Group on Mental Health to study the problems in rehabilitation of patients who are cured and formulate an integrated programme for rehabilitation of patients and establishment of Half-Way Home for the three mental hospitals in Agra, Ranchi and Gwalior. Recently, the Core Group has also been reconstituted as Core Group on Health and Mental Health.