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Indian J Psychiatry. 2019 Apr;61(Suppl 4):S717-S723. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_152_19.

Dealing with statutory bodies under the Mental Healthcare Act 2017.

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Department of Psychiatry, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.


India has an enormous burden of mental illness. In spite of the recognition of this population of people living with mental illness, the treatment gap continues to be about 83%. In order to meet this vast unmet need and in the view of aligning the mental health legislation with the international standards and the UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 was passed and enforced recently. The provisions in the act have been controversial from its conception. Now after the enforcement of the act, all mental health professionals (MHPs) have a legal binding to follow the provisions in the law. The MHPs are accountable to the statutory bodies - the Central Mental Health Authority, State Mental Health Authority (SMHA), Mental Health Review Board, and finally, the High Court or the Supreme Court. The Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA) and relevant articles/documents obtained pertaining to MHCA and their evaluation were reviewed, the major focus being on the role of statutory/regulatory bodies. Furthermore, an attempt was made to summarize the previous experiences in inspection of mental health establishments by SMHA of Karnataka. We concluded that the MHCA will have both positive and negative aspects. Many of the provisions in the law may appear unclear and unrealistic by many practitioners. However, it becomes precautionary for the MHPs to be well equipped with the MHCA and be acquainted with the requirements of the statutory bodies for ensuring a safe practice. The outcome of the implementation of the act will become evident only with time.


Mental Healthcare Act 2017; mental health establishments; statutory bodies

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