Mental health has been neglected for too long in our country. It should be given priority to foster the health of our people. According to WHO, among the 10 diseases causing maximum Global Burden of Disease, five are mental and substance use disorders.
IMA will encourage mental health activities through all its 1700 branches. Since there is a glaring treatment gap, mental health through Primary Care will be encouraged said Padma Sheri Awardee Dr A Marthanda Pullai National President and Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal Honorary Secretary General IMA.
IMA will undertake Mental health awareness programmes at a national level and World Mental Health Day will be observed on Oct 10 and Week in association with Indian Psychiatric Society and World Psychiatric Association, added Prof Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, Chairman , IMA Mental Health Initiative.
IMA will take up the matter with MCI that adequate training in Psychiatry and examination during MBBS is a must.
IMA will help establish Psychiatry Units in all Taluk and District Hospitals of the country. Uniform De-addiction Protocols for general practitioners would be started.
Regarding the new Mental Health Care Bill being introduced the Lok Sabha, IMA feels that the proposed Bill is severely deficient in many respects. General Hospital Psychiatry Units should be outside the purview of this Bill. MHC Bill in its present form is unacceptable to IMA and the same should be withdrawn or thoroughly revised in consultation with IMA and Indian Psychiatric Society.
Proposed new Mental Health Care Bill: IMA Objections
It is a bill that is meant to promote and protect the rights of the mentally ill, but falls short of the expectations and the mandate of the very bill itself.
The mentally ill being vulnerable sections of society need their rights protected in all circumstances and the mandate “protection of the rights of the mentally ill during delivery of treatment” is a very narrow view of the rights of the mentally ill.
As the bill seeks to bring in all types of mental health care facilities under its ambit where admission procedure, discharge policy, treatment decisions will be placed under the control of non experts/non professionals, it will delay and deprive timely treatment of many.
It will stigmatize mental illness and artificially delink the treatment of mental illness from that of physical illness thus compromising on the quality of care.
In India, there are not enough psychiatric hospitals to take care of the mentally ill and the right of families to get them treated has been taken away in the bill.
Moreover, several concepts such as that of a nominated representative, advance directive, and exclusion of families from treatment decisions and responsibilities are extremely negative provisions, totally alien to Indian society, which will be unenforceable and lead to the severely mentally ill being exploited, disrupting the social fabric of society by social exclusion, roaming on the streets as they will neither be in hospitals nor in homes.
Free, easy, convenient access to treatment of mental illness in general hospitals has been curbed. No distinction is made between the services or care centres treating minor mental illnesses or such major illnesses that have good prognosis and potential for quick recovery, from those, where patients have severe illnesses with impaired reasoning and insight who either do not voluntarily seek treatment or do not have families to bring them into treatment or are in need of long term supervised care in hospitals.