Tamil Nadu State Mental Health Authority was established in the year 1994 as per the provisions of Mental Health Act, 1987. It is subject to the superintendence, direction and control of the State Government.
Following are the functions of the State Mental Health Authority as envisaged in Mental Health Act, 1987 Chapter II, Sec.4(3)
Chronological Events of Mental Health Act 1987
State Mental Health authority:
State Mental Health Authority was formed and notified on 1.8.94 (G.O (MS) No. 610 of Health and Family Welfare, dt.1.8.94)
Following are the members of Tamilnadu State Mental Health Authority:
1. The Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Chairman
2. Deputy Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Member
3. Director of Medical and Rural Health Services Member
4. Director of Medical Education Member
5. Director, Govt. Institute of Mental Health, Member
1. Dr. Saradha Menon, Retd. Superintendent, Institute of Mental Health
2. Dr. K.Rangasamy, Retd. Clinical Psycologist, Institute of Mental Health
3. Dr. Savithiri Vaithi, Social Worker
Secretary to Tamil Nadu State Mental Health Authority
Rajan B.Sc., M.D (Psy)., D.P.M.,
Secretary to State Mental Health Authority was appointed during June 1998
Director, Institute of Mental Health has been notified as the Licensing Authority (GO (MS) NO.610, Health and Family Welfare, dt.1.8.94).
Following activities were taken up for licensing of Psychiatric Hospitals.
i. Appointment of Inspectors for private psychiatric hospitals
All the head of the Dept. of Psychiatry attached govt. medical colleges have been appointed as Inspectors for psychiatric hospital and nursinghomes
In addition to regular Tasks State Metal Health Authority has proposed to undertake the following tasks:
i. Revision of Mental Hospital Code:
It has been decided to revise the old and outdated mental hospital code, for managing the mental hospitals formulated in the year 1961. A cell has been formed with Director and retired Superintendent of institute of Mental Health. The cell has completed the task of revising the mental hospital code and submitted the revised mental hospital code incorporating the provisions of Mental Health Act, 1987, Recommendations of National Human Right's Commission and modern concepts of mental health
ii. Amendment of State Mental Health Rules, 1990
1. Certain aspects of state mental health rules like licensing fee, lack of provisions for terms and conditions for appointment of inspectors and visitors committee and criteria for maintaining a psychiatric nursing home should be amended for effective implementation of the licensing process.
2. The task of revising the State Mental Health Rules was given to the Mental Hospital Code Revision cell and a draft has already been prepared
iii. Drafting of State Mental Health Policy:
The state mental Health Authority decided to draft a state policy on mental health. The policy document will form basic guidelines on which to develop the mental health services in the state. It has been proposed to conduct a three days state level workshop for professionals and administrators for developing the Mental Health Policy. In first two days of the workshop the mental health professional will deliberate on different issues and prepare a draft policy, which will be discussed on the third day of the workshop by policy makers, administrators of various allied Govt. departments.
iv. Establishing smaller mental hospitals:
Institute of Mental Health, Chennai is the only govt. sector mental hospital. The people from down south will have to travel a long way to get the psychiatric services. Hence it has been decided to start a 100-bedded psychiatric hospital at Trichi.
v. Visitors Committee:
Institute of Mental Health is the only State run mental hospital with 1800 bed strength. Existing members of the board of visitors for the Institute of Mental Health are a magistrate, Police office and a Medical Officer in the rank of Professor. The visitors committee visits the hospital on the last day of every month.
As per the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1987, new visitors committee has been appointed for the Institute of Mental Health. The new visitors committee consists of a retired superintendent of Institute of Mental Health, a clinical psychologist from other institution, two social workers, and a retired Nursing Superintendent from Institute of Mental Health. The Director of Medical and Rural Health Services will be the ex-officio visitor of all the psychiatric hospital.
vi. World Mental Health Day Celebrations:
State Mental Health Authority had been observing World Mental Health Day by organizing seminars and workshops
2. Painting and oratorical competition for students on the topics of mental health
3. Face to face program with general public on mental health
vii. Drafting an Action Plan to Improve the Mental Health Services in the State of Tamil Nadu
A detailed proposal to improve the mental health services in Tamil Nadu was drafted by the State Mental Health Authority. Following are some of the salient features of the proposal: