Our statement on the National Mental Healthcare Bill

We welcome the new mental health care bill that makes a paradigm shift in how people with mental disorders are treated in the country. It recognises the role of a community-based patient-centric approach and decriminalizes suicide. This, we hope, will go a long way in removing the stigma surrounding mental disorders and in ensuring that such people receive the support from the community and from society. However, just passing a new law is not enough.

Dr. Pallab Maulik, Deputy Director and Head of Research at The George Institute for Global Health, India says, "We need to ensure that everyone especially the caregivers as well as the police and other stakeholders in society are sensitised to this new paradigm that sees a person with mental disorder as person having the same rights as everyone else in society and makes it incumbent upon society to provide those rights. The much-awaited Bill is a key legislation that will provide stakeholders a better understanding to tackle the rights of people with mental disorders and empower those suffering from mental disorders."

The George Institute has been working on making common mental disorders diagnosable and treatable without the stigma attached to it. We have created an atmosphere in our project areas where people can talk about depression or any other mental disorder. WHO has made depression: #LetTalk as the theme of the world health day this year. The Bill gives us an opportunity to talk, which will then become the first step to destigmatization of depression.