The Meghalaya cabinet has approved a policy aimed at addressing the issues of mental health and social care through collaborative engagement with communities. The Meghalaya Mental Health & Social Care Policy was approved at the cabinet meeting, chaired by the Chief Minister. In 2014, the Centre launched the first-ever National Mental Health Policy in an attempt to provide universal psychiatry care.
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Meghalaya is the third state in the country to have a comprehensive policy on mental health and social care, paying attention to these issues, especially among children, adolescents and youth. Kerala and Karnataka are the other two states in the country to have such policies.
About the National Mental Health Policy:
- India being a signatory to it, launched her national mental health policy (NMHPolicy) in 2014.
- The policy was in concordance with WHO’s mental health (MH) policy, plan, and program (2005), and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2007).
- Further, it aligned with and was supported by contemporary laws such as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD, 2016), Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA, 2017), etc.
- Before NMHPolicy, India attempted to address the MH needs of the people of the country through National Mental Health Program (NMHP, 1982), and subsequently, through the District Mental Health Program (DMHP, 1996) with the purported objectives of ensuring the availability and accessibility of minimum MH care for all, encouraging MH knowledge and skills in general healthcare, and promoting community participation in MH service development.
- NMHP has been the main MH service framework of the country till the launch of NMHPolicy. Since the NMHPolicy is an ambitious and idealistic policy with wide-ranging implications (including rights-based treatment, provision for community rehabilitation, etc.), its progress, to a large extent, is also determined by the constitution and performances of the supporting MH and allied (health and social welfare) plans/policies/laws.
- Consequently, NMHPolicy has not been free from criticism from different sections of society, especially regarding its ground-level implementation and performance.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- Meghalaya Capital: Shillong;
- Meghalaya Chief Minister: Conrad Kongkal Sangma;
- Meghalaya Governor: B. D. Mishra (additional charge).