SRINAGAR: In an encouraging development, the Jammu and Kashmir government has taken a significant step towards addressing mental health concerns in the region by approving the establishment of a dedicated Mental Health Authority.
Under these new regulations, all mental health facilities and professionals in the region will be required to register with the newly formed Mental Health Authority. This ensures that every aspect of mental health care in Jammu and Kashmir is closely monitored and held to high standards.
The announcement was made official through a notification issued by the J&K Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Department. These regulations are a result of the recently introduced Mental Health Act, known as the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Mental Healthcare (Mental Health Authority) Rules, 2023.’ The rules will come into effect as soon as they are published in the official gazette.
The newly formed Mental Health Authority will be led by a dedicated Chairperson, and its selection committee will include figures such as the Heads of the Department of Psychiatry at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar and GMC Jammu, along with the Mission Director of the National Health Mission in J&K. This committee will be responsible for nominating and selecting non-official members of the J&K Mental Health Authority.
Non-official members selected or nominated under these rules will serve a three-year term and will receive various allowances, ensuring that the Authority attracts top talent and expertise.
Under the new regulations, the Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority will be the Mission Director of the National Health Mission, J&K. Additionally, a senior MBBS doctor with qualifications in Health Administration or Hospital Administration will be designated as the Medical Advisor to the CEO, providing a strong foundation for effective leadership.
Furthermore, the Mental Health Authority, with government approval, will determine the number, roles, and categories of officers and employees essential for its seamless operation, demonstrating a commitment to comprehensive mental health care.
These steps have been taken to ensure the effective implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 in Jammu and Kashmir.