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Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2013

New mental health bill to ban electric shocks

New Delhi: The right of mentally-ill patients to decide their mode of treatment, decriminalising suicide for them and a ban on electric shock treatment without anaesthesia are some of the progressive provisions of the new mental health bill proposed by the Indian government.

“The bill was passed by the union cabinet last week,” Health Secretary K Desiraju told IANS.

Once passed by parliament, the bill will repeal the Mental Health Act, 1987.

If passed, it will make access to mental healthcare a right for all. Also, such services would be affordable, of good quality and available without discrimination.

An estimated 10-12 million or one to two per cent of the population suffers from severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and nearly 50 million or five percent from common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, yielding an overall estimate of 6.5 percent of the population.

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