What Is The Mental Health Act In India

The World Health Organization estimates that India is the most depressed country in the world. Furthermore, 6.5% of the population suffers from some sort of serious mental disorder. There is a lot of social stigmas attached to depression in India. As a result, a lot of people who suffer from mental disorders refrain from getting help. The Mental Health Act in India empowers people suffering from mental disorders.

Health Policy In India (Mental)

The Mental Health Act in India 2017 has been in force since May 2018. The act provides mental healthcare and services for anyone with mental illness and protects, promotes and fulfils the rights of such people to get proper health care and services. This Act is the successor of the Mental Health Act, 1987. The new health policy India lists out a bunch of new mental health standards:

  • The Mental Health Act in India, 2017 decriminalizes the attempt to commit suicide. Subsequently, it makes sure that the affected person gets rehabilitation opportunities.
  • If the affected person has the required knowledge, the act allows him/her to make decisions regarding their mental health.
  • The Act bounds insurers to make provisions for medical insurance to treat mental illness the same as physical ailments. Furthermore, it keeps all the mental health patients at par to get healthcare and treatment from the government. Unlike the previous Mental Health Act 1987.
  • The Mental Health Act in India has provisions for the registration of mental health institutions and pushes for the regulation of this sector. The provisions ask for setting up mental health institutions across the country so that no patient has to travel far. Coupled with creating a mental health review board that acts as a regulatory body.
  • The Act restricts the use of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). It is used along with anaesthesia and muscle relaxants in emergencies. Hence, ECT is not a viable therapy for minors.
  • The new Mental Health Policy India attempts to tackle the stigma of mental illness and has outlined measures on how to achieve the goal.
  • According to the outlined provisions, if an officer in charge of a police station finds a mentally ill person wandering, the person should be taken into protection and should be taken to the nearest health clinic.

Human Rights

A major highlight of the new Mental Health Act in India is its emphasis on Human Rights. The Act recognizes the Human Rights of people with mental illness and provides them with the following provisions:

  • Right to have a dignified life, protection from cruel treatment, self-hygiene, privacy, proper clothing, pay for work, living in community, adequate food, no tonsuring, no force of uniforms, emergency and ambulance services, mobile, e-facilities, and free legal services.
  • Insurance for mental disorders and treating the PMI according to International guidelines.
  • There are provisions for not separating a woman with her child below 3 years of age. The authority has to approve the separation in case of an emergency.
  • Support for a person with mental illness to live in less restrictive community and family.


The new Mental Health Act in India is a lifeline to the mental health structure in the country. Even though the act fails on the front of unemployment of persons with mental illness, it makes up for it by covering the rest of the field. If you think you or anyone you know is suffering from mental illness, consult a doctor. Additionally, spread awareness about how common being is depressed. Consulting a specialist won’t make you mad in any way. We’ve ignored mental health for too long, its time to make a move.