Section 309 gone..this de-criminalizes suicide attempts in India.. a brave and decisive move but what are the different facets of mental illness?
I am a Consultant Psychiatrist and I have been working with serious mental illness, high risk and suicidality on a daily basis for more than 15 years.. reading this news evoked many thoughts..
There is hope and optimism for those afflicted by mental illness in India.This appears to be a progressive step towards understanding the mental health of those driven to extreme measures like suicide attempts in my home country, with its high suicide rates and stigma/ignorance around mental illness ; a society that has traditionally largely depended on community cohesion, goodwill and the voluntary sector for the management of its mentally ill..
This move is also accompanied by a signboard of caution. In a geographically massive, culturally diverse and overpopulated country, this will hopefully go hand-in-hand with:
1. Taking active measures to increase the existing highly trained mental health workforce
2. Large-scale community awareness programmes about mental health
3.Many more funded and ethical treatment /support centres for the mentally ill
4.Systems in place around the mentally ill (Including social care, healthcare, the criminal justice system, the education system and employers) that promote safety and rehabilitation as a society for the mentally ill
Let us all join together in promoting awareness of mental health!