NHRC expresses serious concern over the apathetic attitude of the authorities in running the affairs of RINPAS and CIP for providing quality mental health care facilities in Ranchi, Jharkhand

NHRC expresses serious concern over the apathetic attitude of the authorities in running the affairs of RINPAS and CIP for providing quality mental health care facilities in Ranchi, Jharkhand

New Delhi, 18th August, 2022

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India Chairperson, Mr. Justice Arun Mishra, Members, Mr. Justice M.M. Kumar, Dr. D.M. Mulay and Mr. Rajiv Jain; Secretary General, Mr. D.K. Singh today unanimously expressed serious concerns over the conditions of Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry & Allied Science, RINPAS and Central Institute of Psychiatry, CIP, Ranchi, Jharkhand. They were addressing a workshop on the issues and challenges facing these two Institutions after visiting them yesterday.

Besides the NHRC senior officers and the Jharkhand SHRC, the workshop was attended by different stakeholders including the senior representatives of Centre, State government, mental health experts, doctors and para-medical staff of these Institutions, as well as the representatives of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, NIMHANS and All India Institute of Medical Science, AIIMS, New Delhi.

Chairing the workshop as the Chief Guest, NHRC Chairperson, Mr. Justice Arun Mishra deplored the apathy of the concerned government departments in running the affairs of RINPAS and CIP. He said that large vacancies in various categories, including doctors and para-medical staff in these hospitals, lack of proper registration of patients with their complete details including addresses, life-saving medicines, cleanliness, among others, is a serious concern.

Justice Mishra said that it is a criminal offence to keep languishing 300 patients in the mental hospital, who have been cured of their mental illnesses and are fit to go back their homes. He said that the hospital authorities have to ensure that all these fit patients are sent to back to their homes within next 15 days. He said, in a way, the mental health patients require better facilities than any other patient for their recovery.

Earlier addressing the inaugural session, NHRC Member, Mr. Justice M.M Kumar said that the implementation of Mental Health Care Act, 2017 in letter and spirit is the key to improving the conditions in the mental health care institutions. He said that the arrangements in RINPAS and CIP are far from being satisfactory as probably these age old institutions have been neglected. It is time that this casual approach in dealing with these mental health care institutions is put to an end. Mere notification of State Mental Health Authority in 2018 in Jharkhand will not serve the purpose unless a board is constituted and budget is allocated to oversee the functioning of mental health care in the State. He said that duties are cast upon on State government in the Mental Health Act 2017, which they have to sincerely adhere.

NHRC Member, Dr. D.M. Mulay said that mental health care cannot be revived without strengthening the three pillars of, “Seva, Shiksha and Anusandhan” (Service, Education and Research) with the support of people, their representatives and the media for the motivation of the employees working in these institutions.

NHRC Member, Mr. Rajiv Jain said that the human rights violations of mental health patients are given a sense of being prisoners in a jail which is a matter of serious issue. He said that it gives a sense of confinement to the mental health patients inside a building having very high boundary walls.

NHRC Secretary General, Mr. D.K. Singh said that the lack of awareness about mental health issues in the local language needs to be addressed in the State of Jharkhand which has a predominant population of Tribal people.

Besides this, he highlighted the three core issues of filling of vacancies, rehabilitation of the cured patients and implementation of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017.

Mr. Santosh Kumar Satpati, Acting Chairperson, Jharkhand State Human Rights Commission, Mr. Arun Kumar Rai, Judicial Commissioner, Ranchi and Mr. Arun Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Health Government of Jharkhand, also addressed the inaugural session.

In the technical session, there were presentations by Dr. Jayati Simlai, Director, RINPAS and Mr. Basudeb Das, Director, CIP on the working, challenges and future plans of their respective institutions. It was assured by them that the patients declared fit will be rehabilitated back to their families in next two weeks. Issues regarding the maintenance of heritage building of RINPAS and CIP, as well as the need for modern infrastructure were also raised.

The other key speakers included Prof. Dr. Rajesh Sagar, Psychiatry Department, AIIMS Delhi, Dr. Atul Goel, DG, Health Services, Government of India, Prof. Dr. Pratima Murthy, Director, NIMHANS, Bengaluru. Mr. Harish Chandra Chaudhary, Joint Secretary NHRC, delivered the vote of thanks.

Some of the important suggestions emerged during the discussions during the workshop are as under:

• NHRC, in addition to institutional mental health care, should also focus on community health care to bring it more close to people;

• Focus on a more and compact campus with state of the art infrastructure alongside a small heritage part of the RINPAS should be a priority instead of maintaining a spread out campus;

• The idea of Tele Mental Health consultations needs to be taken forward;

• Focus on the cleanliness of the toilets in RINPAS as well as CIP and provide coolers in the wards;

• Issue of encroachment on the land allotted to RINPAS needs to be addressed;

• Ensure special wards for children and the elderly;

• Increase the number of family cottages in RINPAS and CIP in the interest of providing better mental health care to the patients in proximity with their families;

• Ensure employment of regular employees instead of outsourced functionaries to instill a sense of belonging in the functioning of RINPAS, and;

• Ensure proper registration of the patients at the admission time so that there are no problems in their rehabilitation.