Bihar is the second most populous state in India with a total population of over 100 million with around 83% of the total population being rural. Approximately 10 million individuals are in the need for active intervention for psychiatric illness. However, the existing public healthcare institutions in the state are incapable of catering to a high mental morbidity rate both in rural and urban areas. The treatment gap is very high due to several factors such as limited public mental healthcare facilities (Govt. run) due to low investment in mental healthcare by the government; lack of awareness about mental neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders, the availability of treatment and possibility of cure; presence of informal service providers. In this context, the new Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 is a boon for individuals who have MNS disorders and associated disability impact and economic burden. This Act lays down a chapter on the rights of persons with mental illness including the right to access mental healthcare services at public health institutions. Since this is a justiciable right, the state governments are under a legal obligation to make provisions for mental healthcare within primary healthcare and specialized healthcare institutions, for its population. In absence of services the government is under an obligation to pay compensation to the person with mental illness. The Act came into force in April 2017 and required the state governments to implement the Act within 9 months of coming into force. The state government of Bihar has still not notified the rules of the Act.
I hope to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court of Bihar for implementation of this Act in the state of Bihar. To hire professional services of a lawyer, I am hoping to raise funds at this platform. If you contribute to this cause you would be helping millions of people from entering into poverty due to mental illness.