What is Mental Health Act 2017, and how is it going to change insurance policies?

What is Mental Health Act 2017, and how is it going to change insurance policies?

In recent days there has been a buzz around things like mental health, emotional health, depression, etc. Social media is swarming with hashtags related to mental health. It reflects a kind of awareness towards mental and emotional health among the masses. A few decades ago, people were not concerned about their mental and emotional well-being. But in the current scenario, when the whole world is enshrined around the gloomy web of the pandemic, the ill effects of ignoring mental health are noticeable among people. 


There is nothing we can do to make someone with mental illness feel better than to try to understand their situation. Instead of saying anything cliched like “it is just a phase” or “things will be okay”, we can listen to them. Every person is different, as is the struggle of every person. Instead of comparing their problems to yours and trying to categorize them into a “big problem” and a “small problem”, help them get through it. The good news is that according to The Mental Health Care Act, 2017, “Every insurer shall make provision for Medical Insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for the treatment of physical illness.” Recently, the Delhi High court stated that Insurance policies have to cover mental illness, it should not discriminate between physical illnesses and mental illnesses. 

Earlier there were provisions for Health Insurance when somebody got affected physically. But after the enforcement of this law, one can insure himself/herself on the grounds of mental and emotional health. This is a kind of milestone in the Indian insurance industry. Now with this act, it will be possible for people to save themselves in harsh times like pandemics and other mental trauma. 

Below are some features of this act. 

*Mental health care should be publicly and privately accessible to all. Everyone is entitled to access these facilities, which must be easily accessible and affordable.

*A person who requires mental health care is entitled to choose the method of treatment, and if they are unable to do so, they may appoint someone to do so for them.

*Central and state mental health authorities are accountable for maintaining data of all mental health establishments, developing high-quality services, training law enforcement officers, and providing mental health advice to the government.

*One of the key changes made by this bill was to decriminalize suicide. If a person attempts suicide, he will no longer be punished under the Indian Penal Code. Instead, the government will have a duty to care for them and provide assistance. 

*Another important element is the provision of insurance to the mentally ill. Most health insurers will need to cover a variety of mental illnesses under medicare. The only downside to this progressive measure is that it will increase premium rates.

This initiative will improve the living standard of the masses but in the Indian scenario where mental illness is still considered a taboo, the chances of its successful implementation will be trivial. 

What do you think about this decision, tell us in the comment box. 

If you or your loved ones are going through anxiety, grief, or any unpleasant emotion, we are here to help. Peakmind is providing free Mental & Emotional support via Call and Whatsapp. Our team comprises experienced professional Clinical Psychologists and Counsellors. 

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