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NHRC seeks ATR on mental healthcare issues

Acting on a petition filed by Rights Activist and Lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy, the apex rights panel issued reminders to the authorities concerned seeking replies by 11 December.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought Action Taken Reports (ATRs) from the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories including Odisha to review the situation in their respective mental health hospitals

Acting on a petition filed by Rights Activist and Lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy, the apex rights panel issued reminders to the authorities concerned seeking replies by 11 December.

 “Lackadaisical and negligent attitude of Government of India, all the State Governments and the Union Territories pose serious threat to basic human rights of the disadvantaged people of India especially the poor People, migrant workers, daily wagers, farmers. The impact on mental health is immeasurable and the suicides and mental illness are on the rise in the entire Country. The situation is going to worsen further post Corona as per various surveys on mental health”, the petitioner Tripathy alleged.

There were reports of death of five patients in a week at Mental Hospital in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on account of inaction by the State Authorities. The petitioner has also highlighted death of two prisoners on 9 and 10 June, 2022 lodged in Mental Hospital. The deceased were from District Jail, Banda and Basti.

He also cited various other instances of lack of mental care and the condition of mental hospitals in other States of India and sought for intervention of the NHRC.

There is a spike in the number of people searching “suicide” in Google, seeing reports of virus-related suicides, and receiving nearly thrice the usual number of e-mails and calls related to suicide ideation and emotional distress, Tripathy contended.

Mental health issues in India receive scant attention compared with the disease, even though it, too, wreaks carnage, devastates families, harms and kills, he added.

The NHRC observed that the allegations made in the complaint are serious in nature as it involves grave violation of Human Rights of the deceased as well as of living mental patients.