Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 215-219

The Mental Health Care Bill 2013: A critical appraisal

Department of Psychiatry, Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College, Gaya, Bihar, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Choudhary Laxmi Narayan
"Deepayan", Tilha, Kali Bari, Gaya - 823 001, Bihar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.155634

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The Mental Health Care Bill - 2013 has been introduced in Rajya Sabha and is now waiting for enactment. The Bill entails unprecedented measures to be undertaken by the Government ensuring everyone right to access mental health care and treatment from services run or funded by the Government. The Government is to meet the man-power requirement of mental health professionals according to international standard within a period of ten years. Various rights of persons with mental illness have been ensured. All the places where psychiatric patients are admitted and treated including the general hospital psychiatry units (GHPU) are to be registered as mental health establishments. Unmodified ECT has been banned and ECT to minors can be given only after approval from the Mental Health Review Board. This article advocates for exemption of GHPU from the purview of the Bill, taking into consideration impediment created in the treatment of vast majority of psychiatric patients who retain their insight into the illness and seldom require involuntary admissions. It is also advocated to reconsider ban on unmodified ECT and restriction placed on ECT to minor which are very effective treatment methods based on scientific evidence. In our country, family is an important asset in management of mental illness. But requirement of seeking approval from the Board in many of the mental health care decision may discourage the families to be proactive in taking care of their wards. The Board and Mental Health Authorities at the central and the state levels are authorized to take many crucial decisions, but these panels have very few experts in the field of mental health.

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