Mental health review board acts against those violating rights of person with mental illness

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Participants at a workshop on the role of mental health review board, judicial magistrates, and the police in Mangaluru on Saturday.

Participants at a workshop on the role of mental health review board, judicial magistrates, and the police in Mangaluru on Saturday. , Photo Credit: HS MANJUNATH

The two mental health review boards in the State are working towards upholding the rights of persons with mental illness towards proper service, treatment and care at mental health institutions, said Niyaz Ahmed S. Dafedar, Chairman of Mental Health Review Board for Bengaluru and Mysuru Divisions. that covered 17 districts on Saturday.

Speaking at a workshop on “Role of Mental Health Review Board, Judicial Magistrates, and police under the Mental Healthcare Act 2017” here, Mr. Dafedar, a retired district and sessions judge, said under Section 18 of the Act, persons with mental illness have the right to access mental healthcare and treatment from healthcare centers run and funded by the government. No government healthcare center can deny treatment to them.

Mr. Dafedar said they also have the right to community living by which the healthcare center should treat the patient as a normal person and not separate him/her from society. They are also protected from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. There should not be any discrimination of the person with mental illness. He/she enjoys the right of confidentiality and there is restriction on release of information of his/her mental illness. The Mental Health Act also provides him/her the right to legal aid and also the right to make complaints about deficiency in provision of services.

“The person with mental illness can approach the six-member review board for relief in case of violation of these rights,” he said. These rights are for those with mental illness admitted at mental health establishment, including Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy healthcare centres, he said.

Mr. Dafedar said mental healthcare institutions should inform the board about admission of a minor and a woman within 72 hours of the admission. In case of admission of others, intimation should be made within seven days. If the stay in healthcare center goes beyond 30 days, the healthcare institution should inform the board, which can approve or reject it based on their visit and looking at the documents placed by the institution.

Prior permission of board is required for doing electro convulsive therapy on a minor. The Act places restriction on psychosurgery for persons with mental illness, the former district judge said.

Dakshina Kannada District Legal Services Authority member-secretary BG Shobha spoke on the role of judicial officers, police and prison officials as laid down in the Mental Health Act 2017.

Principal District and Sessions Judge Ravindra M Joshi inaugurated the workshop. Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer K. Anandh and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sidharth Goyal also spoke.

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