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May 20, 2017
The Mental Healthcare Bill’ has been passed in Apr’2017 in the Lok Sabha and it decriminalizes suicide attempt by mentally ill people and provides services for people with mental illness.
It also includes a clause which obligates insurers to make provision for medical insurance for treatment of mental illness on the same basis as is available for treatment of physical illness. Currently, health insurance plans in India do not provide coverage for mental health disorders.
As per National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, 1 in 20 people in India suffer from depression.
The study showed that on an average out of -pocket expenditure per month was approximately 1000 to 1500 rupees and qualitative interviews revealed that this is a big challenge. In the absence of state or insurance coverage for most families, a large proportion of payments for treatment are out-of-pocket expenses.
The introduction of mental health insurance will help in promotion of mental health literacy among the population. This would also reduce the stigma around the mental illness and enable the people to perceive it same as physical ailments.