NHRC Chairperson Justice (retd) Arun Kumar Mishra, on Wednesday, said it is time to think of innovative ideas to remove the stigma associated with mental illnesses and urged having laws that will ensure that people suffering from such ailments are accepted by their family members.
A National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) delegation, led by its chief, is on a two-day visit to Gwalior. It conducted a workshop on Wednesday in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh government to formulate a plan for the efficient working of the Gwalior Mansik Arogyashala, the NHRC said in a statement.
During the event, Justice Mishra urged for laws to compel the families to accept those suffering from mental illnesses post-treatment, including provisions for maintenance and right to property, according to the statement. He said such an approach should be based on love, care and affection, adding that “it is time to think of innovative ideas to remove the stigma and achieve a safe world for the persons with mental illnesses”.
The NHRC chief said it should be the duty of every individual to protect the rights of people suffering from mental illnesses. He said the change should begin with “changing the mindset”. Unless the mindset is changed, no amendments in the acts will yield results, he added. “If it just remains on paper and is not implemented in its true spirit, it would lead to failure of the rule of law,” Justice Mishra said. He said it is time to “stop the blame game” and work on constitutionally objective solutions in the right spirit to protect the rights of people suffering from mental illnesses.
Earlier, NHRC Member Justice M M Kumar said that although the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 has specific provisions regarding the protection of the rights of those suffering from mental illnesses, the implementation on the ground is not seen. “The Government of Madhya Pradesh has set up a statutory state authority but this needs to be made fully functional on priority, in tune with the provisions and spirit of the Act, to safeguard the rights of persons with mental illnesses,” the statement said.
NHRC Secretary General Devendra Kumar Singh talked about the Supreme Court judgments in connection with mental health care. He also stressed the lack of support from society in general, which obstructs the process of proper treatment.
Focusing on the NHRC’s role, he said the commission will continue to work for the promotion and protection of the rights of those suffering from mental illnesses.