KP Assembly passes bill to establish Mental Health Authority
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed a bill to establish KP Mental Health Authority for the treatment, care, management of properties and affair of the mentally disordered persons and their families. The adoption of the Bill was put on the agenda for several times. But, due to the persistent problem of the lack of quorum it was delayed for several days and at last passed last week to pave way for the establishment of such authority in the province.
For the purpose of the Act, the provincial government will establish Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mental Health Authority with Secretary Health as chairperson. Other members will be included a representative of Home and Tribal Affairs Department, not below the rank of an Additional Secretary; a representative of Law, Parliamentary Affairs Department, a representative of Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department, three eminent psychiatrists including two from the public and one from private sector, three representatives from civil society and the Director General Health Services as member-cum-secretary of the authority.
The functions assigned to the authority will be included to advise the provincial government on all matters relating to promotion of the mental health and prevention of mental disorder in the province; develop and establish new provincial standards for care and treatment of patients; recommend measures to improve existing mental health services and setting up of child and adolescence, substance abuse or drug dependence, psycho geriatric, forensic, learning disability and community based services and prescribe procedures with respect to setting up and functioning of the mental health services and facilities in the province.
Furthermore, the authority will also prescribe a code of practice to be implemented for achieving the purposes and objects of this Act as well as to be achieved by all the mental health personnel involved with the care of patients; to ensure that the provisions of this Act for assessment and treatment are being properly carried out, whether or not requested by any individual, patient or his relative, as the case may be; prescribe for care, aftercare or rehabilitation, under supervision or otherwise; provide for and regulate the setting up of help lines and crisis centres for the general public with regard to mental health.
Similarly, other functions of the mental health authority will be included to organise and regulate public awareness programs and promote research, publish journals, bulletins, magazines and other educational material on mental health issues; arrange and organise such courses and training programs as may be necessary for carrying out the purposes and objects of the authority; approve psychiatrists for the purpose of the Act and discharge such other functions with respect to matters relating to mental health as government may require.
Under the Act, the provincial government may, in any part of the province, establish or maintain psychiatric facilities for the assessment, admission, treatment, rehabilitation, care and after care of the patients at such place, as it deems fit.
The psychiatric facilities established under the Act may organise or maintain separate units for male and female genders, who are above the age of eighteen years; child and adolescence psychiatric units, psycho geriatric units for the elderly and persons who have been convicted for any offence and are mentally disordered for whom special security measures will be required and where drug dependence units need to be established, they will be set up separately for both genders, male and female, which may be within the psychiatric facility for people who are not patients, but have drug dependence or with drug induced behavioural changes.