Centre plans ‘halfway homes’ to help rehabilitate the mentally ill
The centre is planning to establish ‘halfway homes’—less restrictive transitional living facilities—for mentally ill patients
New Delhi: Managing mentally ill patients who have been discharged from hospital but are not fully ready to live on their own or with the family may become easier soon. The centre is planning to establish “halfway homes”—less restrictive transitional living facilities—for such patients.
The plan is part of a draft Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 that an expert committee submitted to the ministry of health and family welfare last week.
“Such half-way homes will function from within the community, outside the campus of any other mental health establishment and will get registered as mental health establishments under the Mental Healthcare Act. These will have to comply with all the standards and other requirements to be observed by mental health establishments,” said Oma Nand, director (hospitals), ministry of health and family welfare.
“Half-way homes will be for those mentally ill patients who are discharged as inpatients from a mental hospital but are not fully ready to live independently on their own or with the family. We have asked stakeholders for their comments on the rules. We will take the final decision over the implementation by November this year. However, the mandate is with the ministry of social justice and empowerment for half-way homes,” said Nand.
The halfway homes will also run programmes to help persons recovering from mental illness in their transition to independent living and learning life skills.
“It shall encourage patients to relearn the forgotten skills to help their reintegration in the society. It shall provide social, medical, psychiatric, educational, and other related services to them. Rehabilitation programs for inmates shall include individual and group counselling,” Nand said.
According to the draft, the patients will be encouraged to do various chores and will be paid for their services. They will have free movement within the campus, establish relationships in the community and may move out under supervision at the discretion of the medical officer in-charge within fixed timings.
The committee has also proposed a service delivery program—Hospital and Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR)—to provide rehabilitation services to persons with mental illness using existing community resources in order to make it easy for them to get reintegrated with the community.
“The ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to make persons with mental illness independent in all aspects of their lives -- financial, social, relationships building and maintaining. Rehabilitation services shall be offered in various settings, including mental health establishments, community centres and homes,” said Nand.
After the Mental Healthcare Bill, 2017 received assent of the President in March, a committee comprising various stakeholders in the field of mental health was constituted for framing the rules and regulations for the Mental Healthcare Act.
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