Envisaged role and functions

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: -

a) 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 which are under the regulatory framework of SMHA as directed by Hon’ble High Court order dated 21-9-2017, WP(C) 8217/2017 Nikhil Borwankar Vs GNCTD
  • Prepare Minimum Standards of care for quality assurance and capacity building for the same for all mental health services in Delhi.
  • 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.
  • Set in place human rights watch processes, review tribunals and ombudsperson to ensure rights assurance by all service providers and all duty bearers to people with mental illness to implement the Chapter – VII Section – I of the Mental Health Act – 1987 .
  • Ensure that there is a functional board of visitors in every mental hospital / nursing home

b) 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 in the state of Delhi;
  • 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; NGOs must be given the charge to run and maintain mental health homes;
  • Engaging CSOs/NGOs who can provide assured rehabilitation of mentally ill patients; Identify NGOs which can run and manage half way homes and long staying residential care homes;
  • 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 Delhi Legal Services Authority;
  • Legal facilitation/assistance for involuntary treatment at the Outreach services for the mentally ill homeless;
  • Special Assistance Schemes for NGOs providing street based outreach services to help patients recover and/or be able to reach a status stable enough for their rehabilitation;
  • Sensitization/orientation drive for police and judicial officers and other regarding mental health legislation & Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.
  • State Mental Health Rules has to be formulated by SMHA
  • Formulate a mechanism of ongoing analysis of Mental Health needs and services in Delhi with or without the support of other agencies from public/ private sector.
  • Developing key output indicators of services related to Mental Health like service utilization pattern, reduction of stigma, quality of life of families or persons with mental illness and assessing reduction in treatment gap
  • Put in place continuing professionals development programs for mental health in coordination with Delhi Medical Council
  • Increase awareness and support advocacy for civil and political participation of people with mental illness in every day process of the society; for this purpose conduct training of all bureaucrats in Delhi.
  • Help the State Government draft the comprehensive Delhi 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 of Delhi

c) Coordination Role

  • Inter-sectoral coordination for implementation of the mental health programmes which should include addressing needs in all life domains not just health
  • Inter-sectoral coordination beyond health Department as wide ranging developments and regulation of mental health services across different sectors and populations will involve multiple agencies across public/ private sector eg GOI, Labour Department, Department of Social Welfare, Women and Child development, MCD, land owning agencies, DCW, DSACS, Delhi Police, Judiciary, and NGO’s working in the field of Mental Health.