HEALTH FOR ALL

HEALTH FOR ALL

World Health Day is celebrated on the 7th of April every year to mark the anniversary of the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION, founded in 1948. It has now more than 7000 people working from more than 150 countries in 6 regional offices. WHO has its headquarters in Geneva. WHO promotes health, safety and serves the vulnerable across the world. "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity", as mentioned in the constitution of WHO. Health determines the quality of life and every individual is entitled to have good health. Hence, the slogan for the year 2019 is "health is for all".

Mental health is an important aspect of overall well-being. A healthy mind is not just the absence of a mental illness or disorder rather it is a state of functioning where an individual is aware of his potential, is capable of coping and dealing with daily life stressors, is able to work productively and contribute to the society. Mental processes can be underlined in each every activity performed by the individual. Mental health is not only a part of the activities, but also has a causal influence.

In the historic times, mental illness was often seen as a possession over the body by an unknown spirit or as a punishment from the Gods for doing something against their wish. People were tied with chains and denied of the right treatment.

As the times have rolled by, psychology has built a platform to establish itself as an independent science. In India, the status of psychology is by far much better than what it used to be some years ago. Psychology, where it stands today in India is an investment of the efforts of legends who worked as dedicated mental health professionals to make the people at large realise the true meaning and science of psychology; and also the efforts of our Indian Government to ensure quality mental health services and protection of the rights of the clinically deviant individuals. Supportive legislatures have not only given psychology its foundation ground but have also raised awareness about the importance of stable mental health among the people of India.

Following are the laws enforced by the Government of India regarding Mental Health;

NATIONAL TRUST ACT,1999

National Trust Act was formulated at the national level for the welfare of persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities. It enables persons with disability to live as independently and as close to the community to which they belong and facilitates support to Person with Disability to live with their own families. It helps to deal with the issues faced by people with disability who do not have family support or have lost their primary caregivers. It evolves procedures for the appointment of guardians and trustees for persons with disability for their protection. It facilitates equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation of the persons with disability.

THE RIGHTS OF PERSON WITH DISABILITY ACT, 2016

It is the Act formulated by the parliament of India to give effect to the United Nations Conversation on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Act lists down principles for the empowerment of Persons with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination and promotes full and effective participation and inclusion in society. It protects the respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, freedom to make his own choices and independence of the individual. It states that as a part of human diversity and humanity, persons with disabilities should be respected and accepted rather than being discriminated. Persons with disabilities have to be given equal opportunity and accessibility like any other normal individual. It prohibits discrimination between men and women and promotes equality. The Act aims to protect the Human Rights of Persons with disabilities.

MENTAL HEALTHCARE ACT, 2017

The Mental Healthcare Act was enforced specially to cater to the problems face by Persons with Mental illness. The Act was formulated to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of such persons during delivery of mental healthcare and services. The Act under chapter V lists the rights of Persons with Mental illness. It states the every PMI has the right to access mental healthcare and treatment from mental health services run or funded by the appropriate government at affordable costs, of good quality and in sufficient quantity without any discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, sexual orientation, disability or any other basis. Every PMI has the right to live in and be a part of the society and is not to be segregated. The Act ensures Right to community living. Mental healthcare Act gives the right to live with dignity in safe and hygienic environment to the PMI. It protects individual against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Every PMI is to be treated equally to a person with physical illness in the provision of all healthcare. PMI have the equality and non-discrimination in every aspect just as any normal human being. They have the right to information about their illness and treatment being imparted by the mental health professionals. A person with mental illness has the right to confidentiality in respect of his mental health, mental healthcare and physical healthcare. Mental health professionals are also supposed to maintain confidentiality about the treatment or any other information shared by the individual, unless the individual poses as a threat to himself or the society. PMI have the right to personal contacts and communication. A person with mental illness shall be entitled to receive free legal services to exercise any of his rights mentioned under Mental Healthcare Act.

Individuals suffering from mental illness do not get attention, opportunity or support to access their rights and claim justice. They are often sidelined and are viewed as social welfare projects devoid of their basic rights of being a human. They are looked upon as persons who are in need of special services and protection but are discriminated, bullied and mocked. PMI are denied of their basic human right of accessibility to adequate treatment because seeking treatment labels them being "insane", "abnormal", and "mad" and adjectives that are more derogatory.

Our government has ensured policies, services, schemes and acts to ensure safe and regular imparting of mental health services and universal health coverage. "HEALTH IS A HUMAN RIGHT AND IT IS FOR ALL." It is important to take mental health seriously and avail the opportunities provided by the government to keep our mental balance intact. It is no crime to care for you mental health. It is your right, make the best of it!

About the Author

Tanushree Sarawagi

Tanushree Psychologist in Delhi.

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