The Mental Healthcare Act 2017, which has been in force since July 2018, empowers every mentally-beleaguered Indian citizen with the legal rights given below.
- Provision of Half-way Homes, Sheltered Accommodation, Supported Accommodation: Patients who have been released from their mental health institutions but are not yet ready to take charge of their daily lives have the right of access to residential facilities, namely, half-way homes, sheltered accommodation, and supported accommodation. Patients may choose to reside in these places on the sole advice of their medical professionals too. [Under section 18 (4)(b) and section 121 (4)(b)].
- Right to avail Community Based Rehabilitation Services: Patients have a right to undergo Hospital & Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), which prepares them to grow independent in life in spite of their mental disorder [Under section 121 (4)(c), read with section 18 (4)(d)].
- Right to access Basic Medical Records: A patient is entitled to receive the documentation of his mental disorder, containing all the basic facts and figures. The documents can be summoned by sending a written request to the professional in charge at the patient’s mental health institution [Under section 25 (1) and section 121 (4)(d)].
- Right to Free Legal Aid: All mentally-ill patients are eligible for free legal aid. The mental health establishments are obliged to put up local language signboards telling people of this right, alongside Legal Service Authority’s contact information [Under section 27 (2) and section 121 (4)(e)].
The complete Mental Healthcare Act 2017 can be found here.