“Are there any schemes available for the mentally challenged?” “What is the government doing to promote mental health in the country?” These are the examples of some of the frequent questions asked regarding mental health. There is not much awareness about mental health policies now, but as a matter of fact, India was the first country ever to pass a mental bill. Yes, that’s right! Indian Lunacy Act was passed in 1912 by the parliament and pondered about the finer details of who actually is a “lunatic” and who should be taking care of them along with their belongings.
As time and society progressed, India was up on her feet and made changes in the mental health section. The Lunacy Act was amended and replaced by the Mental Health Act which was drafted in 1987 but was put into effect all over India in 1993. The major changes in this act included swapping of terms like “lunatic” to “mentally ill person” and “asylum” to “psychiatric hospital”. This lead to a reduction in prejudices among people and a fall in discrimination rates. The act predominantly focused on the retention of the human rights of mentally ill people and set up authorities for the development and coordination of mental health, thus extending a helping hand towards the people who were and still are in constant need of support. Indian government took a step forward and passed the Mental Healthcare Bill in 2016 and made a legendary move in declaring suicide as an unpunishable offence,acknowledging the consequences of mental “stress”.
The above literature was about how a mentally ill person can seek help from the government legally but what about schemes or financial support that government is providing to this section of the society? The Indian government has got a whole list of schemes under her belt for the mentally ill, and especially those with mental retardation, autism, and cerebral palsy. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment have come with schemes like
- DISHA (Early Intervention and School Readiness Scheme)
- VIKAAS (Day Care)
- SAMARTH (Respite Care)
- NIRAMAYA (Health Insurance Scheme)
- SAHYOGI (Caregiver Training Scheme)
- GYAN PRABHA (Educational Support)
Come let us join hands and pledge to help the children and others who are in need of this support and enlighten them with this information to make them feel secure on behalf of the government.