The Karnataka cabinet led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai approves the implementation of the Karnataka state Mental Healthcare Act, 2021 in conjunction with the Mental Healthcare Care Act, 2017 passed by the central government. This step will help the society affected by the COVID19 Pandemic. The current approved legislation provides healthcare services for persons dealing with mental health care issues. This initiative will protect, promote and fulfill the rights of the persons who are in need of the treatment for psychological state JC Madhuswamy, Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Legislation said. He added that the government is prepared to face the anticipated third wave of coronavirus pandemic and there is no need to panic. "We are initiating necessary steps by strengthening the health sector," he said. The minister says during the Covid19 Pandemic Mental Health Conditions increased due to social and economic concerns such as the loss of job, loss of income, death of a family member, fear, etc. the state announced a relief package for Rs 478 crore for up-gradation of 2,859 sub-centers of the Health Department across the state. He even added that they decided to expand the strength of nurses and staff for the hospital on a three-year contract basis. . The government has also decided to provide Rs 47 crore to distribute sanitary pads to girl students in government and aided colleges in the state under the 'Shuchi' program. (2)

According to Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy, the choice to make the authority branched out of the Cabinet’s approval to implement Karnataka State Mental Healthcare Rules (2021), which falls in line with the Centre’s Mental Healthcare Act (2017). “A committee chaired by the Director of NIMHANS (National Institute Of Mental Health and Neurosciences) Bengaluru, has been constituted to draft rules for the authority,” he said. Madhuswamy explained that the authority are going to be responsible of collating and publishing an inventory of clinical psychologists, psychological state nurses, and psychiatric social workers registered to figure as mental health professionals, whose services will be utilized to implement the same. (2)

A senior official from NIMHANS said that the “Mental health issues attained importance among experts and key stakeholders during the days of Covid-19 because the crisis adversely affected the mental state of many. From the unexpected loss of relations and shut acquaintances to sudden unemployment and fear against isolated situations, reasons that have strained people are many. This was delivered to the notice of the govt also ,” (3)

Under the State Mental Healthcare Act following decisions have been taken up:

1) A state mental healthcare Authority will be set up and a committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) Institute for drafting guidelines for the authority.

2) The authority will maintain a registry and publishes lists of clinical psychologists, nurses, social workers, and health workers in the field of mental health care.

3) The state act is being implemented in conjunction with the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 announced by the Central government.

The mental health services falling under Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the government focused on the mental healthcare issues during the Covid19 Pandemic. Counselors giving free 104 helplines who were trained and sensitized to handle and cater needs of the distressed persons. The Karnataka government initiative towards approval of the mental healthcare act in the state is a positive step towards mental health and well-being.





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