New Delhi (Agency): In a national conference on mental health, NHRC Chairperson, Justice (retd) Arun Kumar Mishra, raised concerns over more than 2,000 cured patients still residing in mental hospitals across the country. He emphasized that hospitals should not keep any cured patient beyond their treatment period.
Justice Mishra referred to a report prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which revealed that despite being cured, over 2,000 patients remain in mental health hospitals, with over 900 of them housed in four hospitals in West Bengal. This alarming situation prompted the NHRC to address the need for immediate action during the conference held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
The Commission recently conducted visits to mental healthcare institutions in Gwalior, Agra, and Ranchi, leading to a comprehensive report on the “Status of Implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017” in the country, which was unveiled at the conference.
Justice Mishra emphasized the significance of eliminating mental health stigma and fostering open conversations to create understanding and compassion. He stressed that empathy, not sympathy, is vital in handling mental health issues. The Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 aimed to protect human rights and decriminalize suicide attempts, prioritizing dignity in mental health conditions.
Moreover, the NHRC Chairperson highlighted the necessity of forming close-knit teams of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and nursing staff in mental hospitals.
He also shed light on the growing mental health challenges in modern life, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions have become prevalent, with approximately one out of 10 individuals experiencing various mental disorders. Addressing mental health requires a comprehensive approach encompassing healthcare, education, public policy, and social support systems.
The conference acknowledged the crucial role of mental health in achieving global development goals, as evident in the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals. Justice Mishra stressed the need for better coordination among authorities to streamline procedures and improve mental health support for patients.
He urged interdisciplinary collaboration among healthcare providers, policymakers, researchers, educators, and community leaders to develop holistic solutions for mental health challenges, ensuring that no one is left behind.
As the NHRC calls for urgent action to address the plight of cured patients in mental hospitals, the focus remains on integrating mental health into overall healthcare and fostering empathy and understanding towards mental illness.