New Medical Policy for Mental Health in India

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Mental Health Representatives at every level of Hierarchy in the Government

While the past few years have been great for the Mental Health movement in India we are still leagues away from truly being able to reach the masses and help each and every citizen. India has been dubbed as one of the most depressed countries in the world, ranked 2nd for uni-polar depressive disorder according to the WHO. Today suicide is the biggest cause for death among young Indians and yet mental health is not treated as seriously as infectious diseases such as Malaria and Dengue, with widespread campaigns undertaken by the government to help control the spread of such diseases.

With the World Mental Health Day having just passed, sign this petition asking the government to include Mental Health Officers at different hierarchies of the government starting at the union and flowing down to the lowest level with local representatives.

These representatives will aid and collect data at the lowest level working in places such as government hospitals where they come in contact with people suffering from mental illness and observe and gather information while treating them and collaborating with Officers and Ministers working with the Health Ministry making use of the reports generated to draft policies based on facts and data such that it can have a substantial effect to the masses.

Today approximately 150 million people in India need mental health support with more than 70 percent of them failing to receive any help. We should follow the examples of countries like Scotland which have a Minister of Mental Health to focus on the mental well being of their citizens. 

While India has passed the Mental Healthcare Act in 2017, the law was described in its opening paragraph as "An act to provide for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of such persons during delivery of mental healthcare and services and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto." The Act, which came into effect last year, has failed to create an impact as according to independent surveys there seems to be poor awareness of the act which also directs insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health on an equal basis as physical illnesses. Still, many patients delay treatment because they are unaware of this. 

Join us in asking the government to commit to finding the correct solutions to mental illnesses in India and that they will create and appoint the needed posts of mental health officers in every level of the government body to be able to come up with more efficient solutions and make sure the people with mental illnesses get the correct treatment at the right time. If we can have a minister for Infectious Diseases why not Mental Health which is much more deadly.

- A petition by Aditya Periwal & Hemant Holani.