THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: To end exploitation of mentally ill patients in the state, the State Government has proposed a new rule for the functioning of mental health rehabilitation centres taking out of these institutions from the Kerala Mental Health Rules 2005.
The draft rule has been approved at a meeting convened by Social Welfare Minister M K Muneer. The rule is titled ‘Kerala registration of psycho-social rehabilitation centres of discharged mentally ill persons from metal health centes/asylums rules, 2012.’
Additional director of Social Welfare Department K K Mani said that the draft rule would be finalised within a week after including the suggestions which came up in the meeting. The rule may be promulgated in a month and all rehabilitation centres will come under the purview of the rule.
The draft was discussed by K M Abraham, Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Rajeev Sadanandan, Health Secretary, Ramaraja Premaprasad, Law Secretary, Varghese Punnoose of Indian Psychiatry Society, B Raju, Secretary, Kerala Mental Health Authority, Ahamed Pillai, State Disability Commissioner, V K Radhakrishnan, president, World Association of Psycho-social Rehabilitation, Krishna Kumar, Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Kozhikode, Krishnan Nair, general secretary, People’s Council for Social Justice and Litto Palathinkal of Kanivu.
The rule framed by the Social Welfare Department, on the directive of the High Court, directs all the psycho-social rehabilitation centres to register with the competent authority within six months. Registration will be given only to those institutions which follow the guidelines prescribed in the rules.
A designated officer will inspect the premises and, based on this, registration will be provided. If the centres do not have the specifications according to the rule, the inmates should be restored to the custody of relatives or transferred to another institution specified by the competent authority.
The procedure of admission and discharge of inmates has also been described in the rule. All admissions into the rehabilitation centre should be voluntary and made on the advice of a psychiatrist.
All centres should also have the provision for day-care facilities for working parents. A report on admission of orphaned and alleged mental ill persons should be submitted to the respective police station.
The discharges of the inmates should be made only after consultation with the psychiatrist. The transfer of inmates from one institution to another should be done only after intimating the police stations.
All centres should obtain a certificate from the Public Works Department (PWD) to ensure that the land and building had residential facilities. Sufficient staff should be deployed to ensure that good healthcare was provided to the inmates.
There will also be a procedure for inspection of these centres by the authorities. Separate advisory board at state, district and institution- levels will also be there to monitor and evaluate the functioning of the institutions.
At present, there is no law to monitor the functioning of the rehabilitation centres. The Mental Health Authority Act deals only with the psychiatric hospital and psychiatric nursing homes.
The State Mental Health Rules prescribes staff requirements, physical features and other minimum facilities of care homes which do not come under the purview of either the Act or the Central Rules.
Tamil Nadu has already promulgated a rule for the mental health rehabilitation centres under the Persons with Disability Act.