From Mayukh Goswami
Mangaldai : – “ The basic principle underlying the Mental Health Care Act 1987 and also the Act of 2017 is to ensure that persons suffering from mental illness are able to fully exercise the rights guaranteed to them under part-III of the constitution , including the right against discrimination , right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to life and dignity .” underlined Dr Sabiha Alam Choudhury , HOD , Department of Psychology and Counselling , Assam Don Bosco University . She was delivering her speech on the topic “ Mental health laws and rights of mentally ill persons and other PWDs and history of mental health Act “as one of the resource persons of the two days stake holders capacity building programme under Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives organized by Sipajhar based NGO ‘SATRA’ at their office premises on February 20 and 21 last . Giving a brief account on the history of the said Act , Dr Choudhury said , “The Act of 1987 also envisaged the creation of mental health authorities and of psychiatric nursing homes .
But there were a few practical problems being faced in the implementation of the Act of 1987.” Making elaborate discussion on the Mental Health Care Act of 2017, the speaker said , “ The chapter -v of the Act speaks about various rights of mentally ill persons. It has made provisions for the mentally ill persons to live with dignity , rights of confidentiality among others.” In other sessions of the programme Dr Pallavi Sarmah , Protection Officer , District Child Protection Unit , Darrang as the resource person discussed on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 , role and responsibilities of key govt departments or establishments towards implementation of the Act. Different other relevant topics including care giver counselling , patients counselling , mental health social workers and convergence with line departments , management of work place stress , focused group discussion and transactional analysis of ‘Johari Window’ were also discussed in the programme. The programme of which objectives was explained by Kam+ruz Haque , Project Head , SATRA was also attended by its president Dr Prasanna Kumar Nath and Executive Director Nani Saikia among others .