In a positive development, the Jammu and Kashmir government has taken a big step to address mental health issues in the region. They have approved the creation of a special Mental Health Authority.
According to the new rules, all mental health facilities and professionals in the area must register with this newly established authority. This means that every aspect of mental health care in Jammu and Kashmir will be closely monitored and held to high standards.
The official announcement was made through a notification from the J&K Health and Medical Education Department. These rules are a result of the recently introduced Mental Health Act, known as the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Mental Healthcare (Mental Health Authority) Rules, 2023.’ These rules will take effect as soon as they are published in the official gazette.
The new Mental Health Authority will be led by a dedicated Chairperson, and its selection committee will include prominent figures such as the Heads of the Department of Psychiatry at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar and GMC Jammu, as well as the Mission Director of the National Health Mission in J&K. This committee will be responsible for selecting non-official members of the J&K Mental Health Authority.
Non-official members chosen under these rules will serve for three years and will receive various allowances, ensuring that the Authority can attract top talent and expertise.
According to 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 necessary for its smooth 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.