NAME OF AUTHOR: GAURAVI RANE
Mental disorders refer to the mind, where the mind gets a week or gets affected negatively due to certain issues. That is what the term mental means. Mental disorders are being used in different terms such as mental illness, psychological disorders, etc. Mental disorders are major public health disorders that are being faced by a huge population, involving mind abnormalities that cause distress or disability. Mental disorders can be caused due to biological factors, psychological factors, and social factors. To safeguard this Mental Health Act, 1987 was introduced.
- Awareness about available laws regarding mental health and treatment of the psychiatric disorder.
- Priority is to be given to mental health and it should be not neglected assuming it as a trivial issue.
Research is being conducted through a doctrinal methodology referring to various journals and articles. Also, a survey was conducted about the awareness of the laws which support mental disorders.
- Why do the Indian Government and Citizens of India are taking lightly this critical topic?
- Are people aware of the existing Laws relating to mental disorders?
- Are these laws sufficient to handle the mental health of the people?
- It was being found that there is a lack of awareness about the existence of Laws relating to Mental Health.
- Proper treatment and social freedom have to be provided with proper guidelines and security.
As per 2018 report by the World Health Organisation India is the topmost country suffering from mental health followed by China and the US.
All people with mental disorders have the right to receive high-quality treatment and care delivered through responsive health care services. They should be protected against any form of inhuman treatment and discrimination. 
All people with mental disorders have the right to receive high-quality treatment and care delivered through responsive health care services. They must be protected against any type of abuse and discrimination
As it is said that mental health is as much as important as our physical health. It includes our physiological, emotional, and social well-being. It helps in our thinking ability, work process, and how do we respond to the opposite party or the opposite person. It is observed that people tend to ignore their anxiety issues, stress level, and mental health while giving more importance to physical health, social health, and working and stressing beyond their capacity. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood to adulthood.
Emotionally stable and fit people always tend to stay calm and can tackle difficult situations overcoming their anxiety. This issue was mainly observed during the year 2020 and 2021 as the whole world were in Covid pandemic, locked in their houses. With many changes such as financial pressure, change in daily routine, social isolation, etc. During this COVID pandemic, many people experienced stress, anxiety, fear, and loneliness also mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.
It is observed that most children and adults suffer from anxiety, stress, and depression compared to the previous years. Human rights and mental health care of vulnerable populations need supportive legislation and policies. Amendments in Indian laws and the formulation of new laws are often required and have been seen to occur in the area of mental health care in India. So far, there are limited laws and public rights related to mental health and hence lack of trained human resources is one of the biggest problems in effective mental health care delivery in India.
People with mental disorders are at risk of abuse and violation of their basic rights. Such abuse or violation may occur from diverse elements in society including institutions, family members, caregivers, professionals, friends, unrelated members of the community, and law enforcement agencies. This sets an imperative for a protective mechanism to ensure appropriate, adequate, timely, and humane health care services. Such protective mechanisms include legislative provisions and policies to ensure that the rights of this vulnerable group are protected. In the undeniable context that every society needs laws in various areas to maintain the well-being of its people, mental health care is one such important area that requires appropriate legislation. In India, some of the laws about mental health include The Mental Health Act, 1983; The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
During this Covid pandemic, the Government made some changes and amendments to Mental Health Act, 1987. For example, Police have the power to enter into your house, if needed by force under section 135 of the Mental Health Act,1987. But it is observed that these changes and amendments are being ignored or have not been in practice to date. This is where the Indian Government and the people are lacking. Most people are not aware of such laws and provisions. Hence awareness among people is more important these days so that they may take advantage of the same. Also after conducting a survey it came to know that 8of the 10 people are not aware of the existence of such laws. Even mentally stable people suffer from anxiety and tend to make dangerous decisions and steps which may harm one’s life.
As per WHO there is no national mental health legislation in 25% of countries with nearly 31% of the world’s population, although countries with a federal system of governance may have state mental health laws.
Even Indian Penal Code ACT, 1860 states that “Nothing is an offense, which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, because of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.”
As per TedED, it was surveyed that almost 10% of adults struggled with depression. Not only adults but children also face depression. People get confused between having depression and feeling depressed. Sometimes a feeling of depression pops up out of the blue without any particular reason. But clinical depression is different as it is a mental disorder that lingers for more than a month or sometimes even more than that.
An estimated 1.3 million women are physically abused by their intimate partners each year. Also, about one in every four women seeking care in emergency rooms has injuries resulting from domestic violence. More than one in four men have also been victims of intimate partner violence during their lifetime. About 1 million abused children are identified in the U.S. each year, with 1,500 dying of abuse and neglect each year. What’s more, an estimated 551,000 older adults are victims of family abuse or neglect. Depression, severe anxiety, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the most common mental health consequences of abuse. Child physical abuse is related to vary of exhaustive emotional and
behavioral issues which will persist into adulthood and generalize to future
relationships, together with parent-child relationships. It will lead on to medical
damage, physical injuries, pain, and incapacity, or, in extreme cases, death. Also, it’s been
linked to aggressive behavior, emotional and behavioral issues, and academic
difficulties in kids. Sexual abuse is connected to a disturbed mental state leading to self-harm, inappropriate sexualized behavior, sadness, depression, and loss of vanity. These adverse effects may endure into adulthood.
MENTAL HEALTH ACT, 2017
As it was found out that Mental Health Act, 1987 was not adequate to protect the rights of a person suffering from mental illness, hence Mental Health Act 2017 was brought up protecting human rights during mental illness. Mental health Act, 2017 makes sure that the persons suffering from mental illness have a right to live with dignity and not being discriminated against by any other person or being harassed. According to section 4 of this act, it says that every person has the capacity if it is proven. A person is being deprived of capacity when that person does not have comprehension, understanding the information, and when that person is unable to decide on his/her treatment, medicine or is not able to take any action regarding his health is considered that person is having lack of capacity than only the nominated representative can take treatment of the patient against his will or wish.
RIGHTS OF PERSON SUFFERING FROM MENTAL HEALTH
Section 18 to section 28 that the State has the responsibility to provide all types of mental health services. And it should be affordable cost quality and quantity. Here the government has taken the responsibility and also free treatment has to be given to below-the poverty line patients. It was observed that patients are not being given proper treatment with the proper environment in the mental health care center so section 20 was brought to protect and provide with a better safe and hygienic environment, adequate sanitary condition, etc. Law states that mental health cannot be ignored or discriminated from physical health it has to be kept on an equal pedestal with physical health, as it has been viewed that mentally unstable patients are mostly being harassed or being mocked by society. It should be made clear that this person is just similar to a normal person with some issues. Also, the patient and the representative have the right to information concerning admission under what section he has being admitted, what is the admission procedure, what is the treatment chosen, etc.
As per the survey conducted it was noted that there is a lack of awareness about the existence of such laws relating to mental health, so firstly proper awareness has to be created. Also, Government must come up with policies where they actually on a practical basis create this awareness through media or any other means of communication. So that people could get rid of being called mad so that they can start with proper treatment. Also here educational institutions have a big role to play as they can provide proper education about mental illness by including basics of Human Mental Health in every high school Biology syllabus along with the present Sex Education and teach both of them to the children effectively. This will create a big difference. and also they can have a proper counselor to mentor children. Tackling with the mental health crises should become a part of the Government as well as the Citizen’s vision document. Certain NGOs support Mentally ill patients conducting various activities, hence such NGOs should get financial as well as social support from Government as well as from the citizens.