Functions of SMHA
As per section 55 of Mental Healthcare Act-2017, the following are the functions of State Mental Health Authority.
- The State Authority shall-
- Register all mental health establishments in the State except those referred to in section 43 and maintain and publish (including online on the internet) a register of such establishments;
- Develop quality and service provision norms for different types of mental health establishments in the State;
- Supervise all mental health establishments in the State and receive complaints about deficiencies in provision of services;
- Register clinical psychologists, mental health nurses and psychiatric social workers in the State to work as mental health professionals, and publish the list of such registered mental health professionals in such manner as may be specified by regulations by the State Authority;
- Train all relevant persons including law enforcement officials, mental health professionals and other health professionals about the provisions and implementation of this Act;
- Discharge such other functions with respect to matters relating to mental health as the State Government may decide:
In light of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, SMHA role and functions have increased beyond the routine work of licensing as well as inspection of psychiatric hospitals / nursing homes. Following are the envisaged roles and functions of SMHA: -
- Regulatory Role
- Making guidelines for ensuring minimum standard of quality for Mental health facilities providing mental health services like Long Stay Home (LSH) and Half Way Homes (HWH), General Hospital Psychiatric Unit (GHPU) and De Addiction centers
- Initiate setting of accreditation standards and processes for capacity building and training of mental health professionals of different competencies, such as counselors, general practitioners etc. Facilitate and encourage the delivery of mental health training by the NGO sector.
- Development of services
- Large scale awareness drive and sensitization about mental health problems and remedial measures; public awareness about issues like legal rights, mental health and illness and other related subjects
- Strengthening role in bringing about an attitudinal change among various stakeholders on the subject and treatment of mental health problem;
- Focusing on the role of NGOs in addressing homelessness problem of mentally ill with support from government bodies, legal authorities and police agencies;
- Strengthening role of NGOs as nodal agencies in monitoring, evaluation and continuous updated surveys of mental health issues;
- Facilitating legal assistance to mentally ill patients and provide legal aid in conjunction with agencies like Legal Services Authorities
- Sensitization/orientation drive for police and judicial officers and other regarding mental health legislation & Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.
- Increase awareness and support advocacy for civil and political participation of people with mental illness in every day process of the society.
- Help the State Government draft the comprehensive State Mental Health Plan including mental health services, human resource development and long term system of ongoing analysis and monitoring of mental health needs and services in the State.