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New mental health bill is tabled in the Indian parliament

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1507 (Published 13 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1507
  1. Mohuya Chaudhuri
  1. 1New Delhi

A new mental health bill has been tabled in the Indian parliament by the health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and it is expected to be passed during the current session.

The Mental Health Care Bill 2013 seeks to protect, promote, and fulfil the rights of people with mental illness and ensure the availability of high quality services, but some initial hurdles delayed the process.

For instance, the original draft of the bill did not decriminalise suicide. It said that people who attempted suicide should be treated as mentally ill, but it nevertheless allowed suicide to remain a criminal offence. However, the parliamentary standing committee raised objections, stating that this would stigmatise such people.

The committee advised the health ministry to define people who attempted suicide as …

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