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A Word of Praise for the Mental Healthcare Bill

"Yeh toh pagal hai” shouldn’t ever be directed at a person dealing with mental health issues.

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Finally, the Lok Sabha has approved the Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016. The landmark proclamations passed makes provisons for healthcare and related services to all Indians who may be suffering from a psychological issues. The bill also takes the scarlet letter off of anyone attempting suicide by proclaiming that suicides will no longer be considered punishable by the law.

The bill was approved by Rajya Sabha in August 2016; yesterday, 27th March 2017, the bill was passed by Lok Sabha as well

Speaking about the bill, which has been in the pipelines for the past 30 years, Shipraa Dawar, founder of ePsyclinic, the mental wellness startup said, “As a mental health entrepreneur, I feel proud today that the mental health bill has been passed in Lok Sabha. It's truly a landmark event and we welcome the change of the government.

A person struggling with the unneeded stigma and shame of having a mental health issue, will now be more comfortable in reaching out to mental health service providers. Neither will the person be looked down upon nor will he feel uneasy while sharing his problems. He or she will be assured that no one would be passing any judgement on them.

Moreover, affordability of mental health interventions through insurance will also make help-seeking easier. I am glad that I am a serving in this field and especially during the times when things are moving swiftly and people are becoming more open to mental health issues. My sincere thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and our elected representatives who took an initiative in the field.”

PTI reported Shashi Tharoor as being in support of the bill. “If India wants a modern and progressive society, there is a need for this law while adding that people suffering from any mental disorder carry the stigma that "yeh toh pagal hai (he/she is mad)".

Two of the key reliefs of the bill are that people who are homeless, poor or do not have the Below Poverty Line card are all eligible to free mental healthcare, while a person with a mental illness has the right to direct in writing how she wishes healthcare to be enacted for her.

About decriminalizing suicide, Health Minister J P Nadda said, "Suicide is a mental disease. It will not be a criminal act, it will decriminalised. It recognises that it is done under severe mental stress."

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