The outpatients’ room, MH-6, is sunlit and quiet even though the corridor outside is chock-a-block. A man in his 50s walks in. The air thickens with his high-pitched rapid-fire monologue. A dozen odd patients and attendants rush to witness the spectacle. The middle-aged man from Mysore is proclaiming he is ‘like God’, ‘he could do anything’. But for Dr Sanjeev Jain, placid and empathetic, he is just one of the many patients who need to be admitted to the hospital.
Mind Over Matter
You can demand mental health now, it’s your right. But be ready for surprises
At least 60 million Indians suffer from serious disorders of the brain and behaviour, and the new legislation is meant to address their needs. The rapid expansion of beds, drugs supply and a right to treatment to boot. What is there to go wrong?
The Mental Healthcare Act will force all healthcare providers to add beds and wards in psychiatry
It will also create a market for insurance, which so far did not cover mental health
But who will pay for psychiatric care if the government is not increasing its budget and putting down on paper who will build halfway homes?
The onus lies on the individual, both for seeking treatment and paying for it