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Karnataka Cabinet approves constitution of Mental Health Authority amid Covid-19 crisis

The decision to form the authority branched out of the Cabinet's approval to implement Karnataka State Mental Healthcare Rules (2021), which falls in line with the Centre's Mental Healthcare Act (2017).

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
August 19, 2021 9:16:11 pm
Basavaraj Bommai, Karnataka Chief Minister, CM BommaiKarnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. (Express Photo)

The Karnataka Cabinet, led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Thursday decided to constitute a State Mental Health Authority in a bid to ensure timely and efficient delivery of mental healthcare services to citizens in the state.

According to Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy, the decision to form the authority branched out of the Cabinet’s approval to implement Karnataka State Mental Healthcare Rules (2021), which falls in line with the Centre’s Mental Healthcare Act (2017). “A committee chaired by the Director of NIMHANS (National Institute Of Mental Health and Neurosciences) Bengaluru, has been constituted to draft rules for the authority,” he said.

Madhuswamy explained that the authority will be in charge of collating and publishing a list of clinical psychologists, mental health nurses and psychiatric social workers registered to work as mental health professionals, whose services will be utilised to implement the same.

Government officials attributed the push for constituting such an authority to the mental strain and crisis faced by people during the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Mental health issues attained importance among experts and key stakeholders during the times of Covid-19 as the crisis adversely affected the mental state of many. From the unexpected loss of family members and close acquaintances to sudden unemployment and fear against isolated situations, reasons that have strained people have been many. This was brought to the notice of the government as well,” a senior official from NIMHANS told The Indian Express.

Going by the guidelines of the Mental Healthcare Act, the authority constituted at the state level is likely to appoint the principal secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare as its head.

Rs 47 crore approved for distribution of sanitary napkins to school, college students

Addressing reporters after the Cabinet meeting held in Bengaluru, minister Madhuswamy announced that the Cabinet has approved an estimated budget of Rs 47 crore to implement the ‘Suchi’ programme by the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

“As part of this programme, sanitary napkins will be distributed to girl students of government and aided schools, and colleges across the state,” he said.

Further, with more focus on enhancing public healthcare services in the state, the Cabinet also decided to ensure that basic infrastructure and staff are provided to 2,859 health centres, to be upgraded with better and comprehensive facilities. A budget of Rs. 478.91 crore has been earmarked towards the same, Madhuswamy confirmed.

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