Some of the sates in India should get centers of excellence (CoE) for mental healthcare under the national mental health policy, but it is not yet materialized.
Government Hospital for Mental Care (GHMC) in Visakhapatnam was also one among the hospitals that was supposed to get upgraded into a CoE in mental healthcare on the lines of NIMHANS in Bangalore, but the project has been pending for over a year. Speaking about the CoE status for the 300-bed GHMC, its medical superintendent Dr Radha Rani said, "We have already sent proposals regarding this but they are pending with the state government. From there, it's supposed to be sent to the Center for its nod. In the present five-year plan, there's no mention about the institute but we hope that in the next plan it will find a mention because it's the only tertiary government mental healthcare institute catering to all the 13 districts of AP as well as the neighboring states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Converting it into a CoE has its advantages."
Due to lack of clarity on certain clauses, which need to be amended the new mental healthcare Bill that was supposed to be passed by the Parliament early this year is still stuck. The Bill is aimed at introducing certain changes in treatment modalities and patient care but amendments were sought in certain areas. The Bill has proposed that a five-member mental health review commission consisting of just a single psychiatrist, judicial members, counselors and psychologists will take the decision and they can override the sole psychiatrist in taking the final decision, explained Dr Raju.
"There's also provision of advanced directive, whereby a person can give directions to the mental health commission as to the mode of treatment he or she would like to undergo if they become ill in future. But this clause of advanced directive is not a practical one as treatment modalities may need to be reconsidered depending on the present situation of the patient, which is bound to change as treatment progresses," added the psychiatrist.