It is shocking to know that India is facing a serious mental health crisis. According to a report by the World Health Organization WHO, nearly 56 million people in India are suffering from depression and 38 million people are suffering from anxiety disorders. As many people are in need of active medical intervention, there is a law which protects the right of people with mental illnesses in India.
It is the right of every person in India to get access to mental health care and mental treatment from the mental health services run or backed by the Government. Primarily, a person who is suffering from mental illness should be provided good quality and affordable health care. No doctor should discriminate patients based on gender, religion, caste, culture, class and so on. If anyone is found violating the law, the matter can be taken to court.
A person suffering from mental illness has all the right to make decisions regarding health and treatment. This is possible as long as he can understand everything on the treatment and is able to effectively communicate. No person can forcefully admit someone to the hospital if he is lucid and understands what is happening to him. Also, if the person is suffering from mental illness, he has all the right to know the nature of his illness, treatment to be taken and side effects of the treatment.
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A person suffering from a mental illness should be allowed to live in a community and nobody can separate him from society. Also, a woman who is staying in the mental health care institution cannot be segregated from her kids who are less than three years old. If at all the doctor feels the child is in danger, the child can be parted from the mother.
Doctors treating a person for mental illness must not disclose the details of illness and treatment with anyone. Also, media must not publish any information without the individual's or guardians permission.
Shock treatment and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) must be performed on adults only after using muscle relaxants and anesthesia. This therapy is completely banned on children.
The living quarters of the patients must be safe and hygienic, and he should have access to nutritious food, privacy, and facilities for recreation and so on. The person should also be provided proper rewards for the work they do in mental healthcare institutions.
As per laws, attempted suicide is not considered a criminal offense. The person who attempts suicide will be regarded as under severe stress.
A person violating the law for the first time, will be imprisoned for a maximum period of six months or will be charged a fine which may extend to Rs 10,000, or both. If the law is violated any further, the person will be imprisoned for a maximum of two years or can be charged a fine anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakhs, or both.
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