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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Explained: What is Karnataka’s State Mental Health Authority?

The state government was also obliged to implement the Karnataka State Mental Healthcare Rules (2021), which falls in line with the Centre’s Bangalore (2017).

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal , Edited by Explained Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 22, 2021 12:43:13 pm
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai. (File Photo: Twitter/@BSBommai)

The Karnataka government has begun preparations to constitute a State Mental Health Authority. Approved by the Basavaraj Bommai-led cabinet on August 19, the authority is expected to oversee timely and efficient delivery of mental healthcare services to citizens in the state.

What prompted the government to do so?

Mental health issues were reported widely among citizens in the state, especially during the crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. This pushed experts, including those from the National Institute Of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru, to pressure the government to constitute an exclusive body to keep mental healthcare services provided in the state on check.

Further, the state government was also obliged to implement the Karnataka State Mental Healthcare Rules (2021), which falls in line with the Centre’s Bangalore (2017).

What will the Authority do?

The Karnataka Mental Health 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. This registry will be utilised to ensure services are offered in a timely and efficient manner to the needy across the state.

Who will the Mental Health Authority comprise of?

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. The Commissioner, and Joint Secretary of the Health Department, and the Director of Medical Education will be included as members of the authority.

What is the status of the formation of the authority in Karnataka?

According to Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy, a committee chaired by the Director of NIMHANS has been given the charge to constitute the draft rules for the authority. The formation of the authority is expected to follow then.

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