Sunday 11 October 2015

Mental Healthcare | Bills, Suggestions

Ref: Self Created


  • for few countries have witnessed so many high-profile debates related to mental health while ignoring the centrality of mental health in any of them. Consider just three examples of long-standing, repeated tragedies that evoke media outrage and endless political mudslinging: 
    • The impoverishment of families, domestic violence and deaths related to alcoholism
    • the continuing tragedies of suicides, the leading cause of death in young Indians; and 
    • the acts of terrible violence by adolescent boys who have faced terrible deprivations in their own childhood. 


  • Some interventions can be delivered through legislative and regulatory measures — 
    • for example laws that restrict access to means of suicide (notably pesticides) and 
    • that reduce the demand for alcohol (by, say, combating surrogate advertising of alcoholic beverages to youth). 
  • Some effective interventions are delivered through a variety of community-based sectors, such as parenting programmes from infancy through adolescence, and life-skills training in schools to build social and emotional competencies in children and adolescents. 
  • At the level of health services, there is evidence to support the delivery of frontline interventions by community health workers with appropriate training and supervision, in partnership with primary care doctors and mental health professionals. 
  • In addition, there is the need for specialist care, such as in district hospital-based inpatient units, and continuing care, for instance through supported housing, for a relatively small proportion of people affected by severe disorders like psychosis, intellectual disability and dementia.
  •  While India has the distinction of being one of the first countries in the developing world to establish a national mental health programme, decades of mismanagement have led to pitifully small gains. If the government has any desire to change this abysmal status quo, it would need to look no further than to implement, in letter and spirit, its own National Mental Health Policy and District Mental Health Programme.
  •  The bills - as given above


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