People looking to get started with therapy often have a million questions about what to expect from the process, who to speak to, what will happen at their first session etc.
The conversation around mental health has been recent, and still limited, in India. But the government has made provisions over the past few years, to ensure that you (as a mental healthcare seeker) are protected by the law. The two main provisions by the Government of India that you should know about, if you or a loved one is planning to set professional help, are:
Opening up to mental health professionals can be intimidating and vulnerable. But remember, MHCA 2017 guarantees clients (you) certain Rights to make this process more promising.
a) The Right to make treatment decisions- The clients enter a mutual partnership with their mental health professional, wherein they have full rights to seek information on the method of treatment being used, choosing the methods which are best-suiting and right to terminate the treatment if the client finds it ineffective or forceful.
b) Advanced Directives- Adult clients have the Right to submit a written advanced directive to explain how they wish to be/not to be cared for and treated during non-emergency treatment. Under emergency situations, they can nominate a representative beforehand, who can make decisions for the clients.
c) Access to Mental Health- The Act ensures that mental health services are accessible and affordable for all irrespective of their socio-demographic-political background. To enact this, there are various government mental health establishments in every State that offer low cost/ free treatment for all.
d) Mental Health Review Board: If the client feels that the services given to them were unjust and violated their rights as mentioned in the Act, they can approach the MHRB for addressal of their needs with due compensation.
Mental Healthcare Act 2017