Is Mental illness a Real Health Problem: Legal Analysis, By Kartikeya Hundet, At LexCliq

Mental health is the foundation for the emotional, psychological and social well-being and the effective functioning of an individual. Mental health is not just a mere lack of mental disorder but it has more perspective. It has also been defined as a state of well-being whereby the individual uses his mental ability to cope with the normal stresses of life and work in such a manner to make a contribution to their communities in a productive and fruitful way. Mental health is all about enhancing individual competitiveness and made them work toward their goals. Mental health should not only concern individual suffering from a mental disorder, rather it concerns all of us.

Mental health is important in every stage of individual life, starting from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. There are many factors that contribute to mental health problems in someone life such as:

  1. Biological factors include genetic transmission, consumption of drugs or chemical imbalances in the brain.
  2. Life experience is that situation that affects the individual mental state of mind such as trauma, broken family, loss of loved one, loss of significant relationship or exposure to violence and abuse.
  3. Hereditary problem of mental health in the family.

The mental health problems affect the community at large, as it does not just content to the groups of isolated individuals. They are therefore become a major barre in the development of the community. No one is completely immune from the mental disorder, as everyone has faced some or other sort of mental health problems in his/her life, but there is a higher risk among the poor and homeless peoples of society.

For every individual, it is important to take care of physical, mental and social health as it closely interrelated and vital for the well-being of life. It even becomes clearer that mental health is as important as other health problem for the well-being of individuals, societies, and countries. Unfortunately, Indian society does not give much importance to mental health and mental disorder as real health problem and not considers them as important as physical health. Even today people have been ignorant or neglecting issue related to mental health and even uncomfortable accepting mental disorder as a health issue.   

The new legislation of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 highlights the long-standing problems facing by patients and medical health professionals in the sector of mental health care. The provisions made to ensure better care and promote greater social justice for the mentally ill individuals in India are recommendable. The present act takes care of the rights of mentally ill individuals efficiently which brought a radical change in the way mental health care was delivered in our country early. One of the most noticeable provisions inserted in this act overturns the outdated and grossly inhuman section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. Even though there is some section of the act which are not defined properly and become the reason for criticism. The present Act has some novel features which reduce the incidence of human right violation of this segment of the population in our country. but with proper future amendments in some necessary areas, this act can change the whole mental health care system in India.

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