Mental illnesses are conditions that affect our thinking, perception or emotional response to events. They do not manifest similarly in all individuals and can develop as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia among others. While the precise biology of these disorders is unknown, scientists believe that genetics, environmental causes and psychosocial stress have a role to play.
Mental illnesses are usually treatable but require proper care and therapy. However, social stigma and a lack of understanding has affected the way individuals with mental illnesses seek professional and medical help. Additionally, previous laws did not provide adequate support for patient rights.
With these issues in mind, the Indian parliament passed the Mental Health Care Act in 2017 to replace the older Mental Health Act of 1987. This law was recently notified on 29th May 2018 and covers crucial issues of patient rights, refusal of treatment and advanced directives.
We spoke with Dr. Soumitra Pathare to get a sense of what the new law has in store and where it might still have issues.
Interview by: Navneet A Vasistha
Podcast edited by: Shruti Muralidhar
- What is Mental Illness
- Dr. Soumitra Pathare: Director of Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy at ILS
- Gazette of India: The Mental HealthCare Act 2017
- History of Mental Health law in India:
- Music Credits – ‘Curiosity’ by Lee Rosevere from the ‘Music for Podcasts‘ album. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)