The Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) of 2017 elaborately lays down the legislative provisions and the ethical protocols concerning mental health issues in the national territory of India. To avail better the countless, already available opportunities, consider educating yourself about how mental health is viewed within Indian jurisdiction and the guaranteed mental health rights.

Mental Health Rights of an Indian Citizen

Every person experiencing suffering from psychological disorders has the right to:

  • Live with dignity
  • Live in a safe and hygienic environment
  • Have adequate sanitary facilities
  • Have proper clothing and other provisions for personal hygiene
  • Participate in leisure, recreation, education and religious, and other community activities
  • Access mental health care and treatment from mental health services run or funded by the governmental bodies
  • Seek information on diagnosis, treatment, discharge facilities, etc.
  • Make decisions regarding his/her own mental health treatment
  • Make decisions about personal contacts, communication, and support systems
  • Avail emergency facilities and emergency services for mental illness
  • Seek treatment in health establishments, care homes, rehabilitation centers, etc.
  • Access medical records and medical facilities
  • Be protected from all forms of physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse
  • Be protected from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in any setting
  • Privacy and confidentiality about his/her mental health, mental healthcare, treatment and physical healthcare
  • Seek legal aid
  • Release information in the interests of public safety and security

Mental Health Insurance

The MHCA lays down that “every insurer shall make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness”. This provision has been further mandated by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), because of which a large number of health insurance companies have decided to introduce mental health insurance policies in both in-patient and out-patient departments.

To avail the IRDAI circular about the Mental Health Care Act, click here.

Mental Health Rights of a Minor

The provisions for mental health rights of minors in India are laid down by the MHCA, in conjunction with a number of acts, including the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act [2016] and the Juvenile Justice Act [2015].

According to the MHCA, a minor or a child is entitled to several mental health rights, though these rights are to be exercised in the presence of an adult nominated representative who is “competent to discharge the duties or perform the functions assigned to [him/her] under this Act, and give [his/her] consent in writing to the mental health professional to discharge his duties and perform the functions assigned to him/her under [the act]”.

When it comes to mental healthcare and treatment, a child or a minor has the right to: