Karnataka’s State Mental Health Authority


    In News 

    • Recently, the Karnataka government has begun preparations to constitute a State Mental Health Authority. 


    • The State Cabinet approved the Karnataka State Mental Healthcare Rules 2021 for implementing the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 of the Centre, and providing health care and services for persons with mental illness.
    • Under the rules, a State Mental Health Authority would be constituted. 

    Objectives and Need: 

    • Mental health issues were reported widely among citizens in the state, especially during the crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic
    • This pushed experts, including those from the National Institute Of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru, to pressure the government to constitute an exclusive body to keep mental healthcare services provided in the state in check.
      • Social and economic causes, such as loss of jobs, loss of income, death of family members and fear, have triggered mental health conditions among the people.


    • The Karnataka Mental Health Authority will be in charge of collating and publishing a list of clinical psychologists, mental health nurses and psychiatric social workers registered to work as mental health professionals. 
    • This registry will be utilised to ensure services are offered in a timely and efficient manner to the needy across the state

    Mental Health

    • According to WHO, Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
    • Determinants of mental health:
      • Multiple social, psychological, and biological factors determine the level of mental health of a person at any point in time. 
    • Related Facts about Mental Health in India:
      • As per WHO (2020):
        • India accounts for 36.6 percent of suicides globally.
        • About 7.5 per cent Indians suffer from some mental disorder and by the end 2020 it will shoot up to roughly 20 percent.
        • According to the numbers, 56 million Indians suffer from depression and another 38 million Indians suffer from anxiety disorders.
        • The contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India in terms of DALYs(Disability adjusted life year) increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017.
        • But, per 100,000 population there are psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07), while the desirable number is anything above 3 psychiatrists and psychologists per 100,000 population.
      • A report published in The Lancet Psychiatry in February 2020 indicates that in 2017, there were 197.3 million people with mental disorders in India. 

    Constitution and Legal Provisions

    • Article 21: The right to a dignified life extends to the right to seek Mental Health care.
    • Article 47: Duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health.
    • In the recent SC judgement reiterated that every person with Mental illness shall have a right to live with dignity.

    Initiatives Taken by India

    • Mental HealthCare Act 2017
    • Manodarpan Initiative: This initiative has been launched by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
      • It aims to provide psychosocial support to students for their mental health and well-being. 
    • SAATHI: It is  a South-Asian Mental Health Outreach Program of ASHA International that aims to:
      • Promote awareness about mental health and emotional wellbeing
      • Improve access to care
    • National Mental Health Programme (NMHP): It was launched  in 1982, keeping in view the heavy burden of mental illness in the community, and the absolute inadequacy of mental health care infrastructure in the country to deal with it. 

    Way Forward

    • There is a need for massive awareness and sensitivity to tackle the stigma associated with mental illness.
    • Increase is the expenditure in mental healthcare in the overall budget.
    • Medical workers should be trained in dealing with mental ill patients.

    Source: IE