From the very beginning of civilization, persons with mental health problems have not received adequate care and concern. It was believed that they do not have any productive value in the social-economic system and are a burden for society (Vigo et al., 2016). Not only these persons are neglected, but they also had to undergo step-motherly treatment by the healthcare planners, particularly in developing nations like India. Under the circumstances, the requirement of incorporating the human rights laws and liberal jurisdiction in the legal system of the country resulted in the need for taking appropriate steps to ensure the care and treatment of persons suffering from mental illness (Buckley, 2013). It cannot be denied that persons with mental health issues also deserve similar privileges that are available to any other person. The report studies the Indian population, which is considered to make the present report. However, on account of the stigma, intolerance, the residual disability as well as the inability of the person with mental health problems to raise their voice against exploitation, had made the issue related with basic human rights of these persons, a cause of concern (Gaur and Ram, 2016).
The citizens of India, including the persons with mental illnesses, are entitled to the human and fundamental rights that have been guaranteed to all the citizens of India by its Constitution (Patel et al., 2015). These are available to the extent that their disability is not going to prevent them from the enjoyment of the sites on where the enjoyment of the Zeiss has been expressly or impliedly prohibited by the Constitution or any other law. In this regard, the fundamental right to life and liberty is treated as including the right to life with dignity and also the right to health. Several verdicts of the Supreme Court are present in which this position has been upheld (Ramamurthy et al., 2019). At the same time, the Supreme Court of India has also provided that maintaining and improving public health is a major obligation of the authorities that have been imposed on account of article 21 of the Constitution. Therefore it can be stated that the mental health patients have fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and human right of receiving health care and also to live in humane conditions (Inam,2010). The focus population is going to be the people of India.
Mental Health Issues:
Persons with serious mental health problems are a special group with disabilities. The concern related to the problems of this group is twofold. Therefore, it is not only concerned with providing the privileges of living in the society, with other people, but it also requires to make sure that these people have a right to protection against mental health exploitation. It must be included under Articles 23 and 24 of Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution (Sharma, 2015). The human rights available to mentally ill persons are required to be protected by domestic legislation. However, it is available to the mentally ill persons that they may need special and additional protection due to the history of abuse of human rights, discrimination and stigma attached with it and sometimes on account of the peculiarities related with mental health problems (Mann, Bradley & Sahakian, 2016). Sometimes the persons with mental illnesses are considered as “non-persons”, same as the children or in some cases, the animals are treated. On many occasions, it is considered that these persons do not have the decision-making capacity available with the adults. The result is the complete disregard of their human rights (Gupta,2018).
Identification of one of the most significant health issues:
It is a significant issue that can be identified in this regard and is related to the stigma of mentally ill patients (Venkatesh et al., 2015). It is a major issue in India for the delivery of health services to mentally disturbed persons suffering from any form of mental illness also have the basic right of confidentiality of information related with themselves and also there illness and treatment. As a result of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, the authorities should not reveal any information of mental patients to third parties without obtaining the consent of the persons or their caring ones (Nallur, 2019). In this regard, the professional codes of conduct are applicable for the mental health professionals, and generally, they include the rule related to confidentiality. Therefore all the professionals who are involved in providing care to persons with mental illnesses are required by the law to prevent any breach of confidentiality. This is a very significant issue and all the members of the mental health team should be aware of these rules which require them to maintain the confidentiality of the patients (Mohandoss, Ramasubramanian and Namasivayam, 2016). However, the authorities of mental asylums should also ensure that they have implemented adequate processes for safeguarding the confidentiality and privacy of persons with mental illness (Lawand et al., n.d.). As a result, an effective system should have been enforced, which allows only the authorized personnel to access the clinical notes or other data reporting mechanisms of patients, like the electronic databases.
In India, the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enforced on 8 January 1994 (Sadiq & Pandey, n.d.). This legislation was introduced to create the National Human Rights Commission at the federal level. Similarly, the state human rights commissions, as well as the human rights courts were also created for the protection of human rights in a better way. According to this legislation of Article 14 mentioned in the Indian Constitution, human rights are described as the rights related to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of the persons (Bhattacharjee, n.d). They have been insured by the Constitution of India and has also been mentioned in universal covenants that can be enforced in India by the courts. India has also signed the above-mentioned Covenants and the Constitution also protects the human rights in India (Kelly,2016).
It also needs to be noted that according to Indian Mental Health & Research Centre must access a huge number of depression cases among elderly people in India (Grover & Malhotra, 2015). The Supreme Court of India has granted to conduct a Suo Moto by NHRC in India for an inquiry to analyze the breach of human rights of mentally ill patients (Murthy & Isaac, 2016). These include breach of law or the negligence of mentally ill patients that may be present in preventing such a breach by a public servant (Prior, 2003). In this regard, it is interesting to note that authority has been granted to the Commission for intervening in any proceedings with the approval of the court where such proceedings are pending. Among the responsibilities of the Commission, includes the duty to raise awareness regarding human rights in different challenges like suicide issues and legalization of passive euthanasia in India (Ponnudurai, 2015). There is also an urgent need to increase consciousness related to measures that are accessible for protecting the human rights in India (Kumar,2019). The breaches of human rights in the context of the persons suffering from mental health problems and the delivery of services to these persons are the relevant determinants.
In the recent past, the intervention has also taken place by the Supreme Court for reviewing the state of affairs related to various mental issues through Mental Health Care Bill, 2016 (Rao et al., 2016). Later on, the court had also issued several directions for dealing with the shocking conditions resulting in the breach of human rights. The Supreme Court delegated the authority to NHRC to oversee that the directions given by it are properly implemented (Ragesh, et al., 2017).
Analysis of how the identified health issue is related to equity and human rights:
The basic human rights are part of the Constitution of India. Apart from it, it has also been provided by the Human Rights Act, 1993 that further protection is also available for protecting human rights (Gupta, 2018). However, despite the presence of these Constitution provisions, still, there are regional and urban-rural variations present in case of health indicators and also the delivery of health services which include the mental health facilities (Addlakha, 2010). These are also the result of market and social-economic variations that are present in the population in India. On account of these differences, it is not uncommon to find variations present in the standards of health care and breach of human rights in different regions of India (Ramamurthy,2011).