In a progressive move, the The Lok Sabha passed the Mental Healthcare Bill of 2016, that decriminalises suicide and provides for mental healthcare and services for persons with mental illness. The bill also has a provision to protect and restore the property right of the mentally ill people.
The bill has been termed patient-centric and aims in empowering patients suffering from mental illnesses. The current progressive bill aims in focusing the effect of mental health on the community as a whole. The bill ensures that every person shall have a right to access mental health care and treatment from mental health services run or funded by the appropriate government. It also guarantees free treatment for those suffering if they are homeless or poor, even if they do not possess a Below Poverty Line card.
The bill also decriminalises suicide, stating that a person who attempts suicide should be presumed to have severe stress, and shall not be punished. And that it will be the government’s duty to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation to a person, having severe stress and who attempted to commit suicide, to reduce the risk of recurrence of any attempt. The person can also make a directive as to how he wishes to be treated for the illness and nominate a representative.