Persons with Mental Illness
- Legal Explainers (30)
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a health condition which involves a substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception and orientation or memory.
What is Free Legal Aid?
Free legal aid means providing legal services, free of cost, to certain sections of the society like a beggar, differently-abled person, etc., as and when required. This does not mean that anyone can go and ask for legal aid. You have to be eligible to apply for it.
Emergency treatment is provided on an immediate basis to prevent the death or harm to the person or to stop the person from inflicting serious harm to themselves and/or to others as well as to prevent the person from causing serious damage to their or others’ property.
Legal services are any service with respect to a case or any other legal proceeding before any Court, authority or tribunal. Getting legal advice is also a part of legal service.
Mental Health of Children
child requires admission in a mental health establishment, the nominated representative should apply to the mental health professional in charge of the establishment for the child’s admission. Informed consent of the nominated representative must be obtained after complete knowledge of the treatment and its consequences
Eligibility for Legal Aid
If you want legal aid, you will need to go to a legal service authority. Once you approach the authority, they will check whether you are eligible for legal aid and the genuineness of your case.
Admission and Discharge in Mental Health Establishments
If a person has the capacity to make mental health care and treatment decisions, they may undertake admissions and discharge in mental health establishments in an independent mode. However, if they require very high support in taking mental health care decisions, they may avail the supported mode of admission and discharge.
Costs in Legal Aid
There is no charge for getting an application form for free legal aid. You are not required to spend any money for either getting or submitting the application. Even expenses like Process Fees, Drafting Fees, Typing Fees, Clerkage, etc. are borne by the legal service institutions.
Independent Admission and Discharge
An independent patient is given mental health treatment only after informed consent and is expected to follow the rules of the establishment, if admitted.
Where do you go for Legal Aid
You can approach the State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Supreme Court Legal Services Committees and the High Court Legal Services Committees for applying for legal aid.
Supported Admission and Discharge
All admissions in a mental health care establishment should be independent, except when supported admission is necessary. The supported mode of admission and discharge means that the person being admitted does not have the capacity to make mental health care decisions, or requires very high support.
How to Apply for Legal Aid?
While applying for legal aid, you will require at least proof of identification and an affidavit proving you are eligible for legal aid.
Hindu Marriages and Mental Illness
The law states that people with mental illnesses usually do not have the capacity to enter into valid legal marriages.
Rights of Persons with Mental Illness
Persons with mental illness have certain rights under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, so as to safeguard them from discrimination and harm.
Help and Support
You can reach out to the National Legal Services Authority to lodge a complaint and track your application. You can also email or call the state-wise authorities (Legal Service Authorities) given below in case of a grievance, or if you need help and support.
Making an Advance Directive
An advance directive is a legal document that specifies the healthcare decisions that should be taken for a person in case they are not capable of making such decisions. It comes into force when someone no longer has the capacity to make healthcare-related decisions. Once the person regains the ability to make mental healthcare decisions, then the advance directive ceases to be operational.
If you are not satisfied with the decision given by the relevant Legal Service Authority on your application for a grant of legal aid, an appeal to the Executive Chairman or Chairman of the relevant Legal Services Authority.
Appointing Someone on your Behalf
A nominated representative is a person who is appointed by a person with mental illness in order to support themselves in treatment decisions, consider their wishes and views among other important duties.
Denial/Withdrawal of Legal Aid Services
After you fill out your application for legal aid, it can be denied or accepted. It can also be withdrawn at a later stage after the application has been accepted and legal aid has been provided.
Hindu Marriage and Mental Illness
Under Hindu law, the mental illness of your spouse can be a ground for divorce if it affects your capacity to live with them.
Confidentiality of Health Related Information
The right to confidentiality of a person with mental illness about their mental health, mental healthcare and physical healthcare means that the mental health professional who is providing care/treatment must keep all such health related information private, and not reveal it without the person’s consent . This also includes the release of information to the media, such as the release of photographs or any other information without consent
Receiving Legal Aid After Application
Once you have submitted your application for free legal aid, it will be scrutinized by the relevant Legal Services Authority to determine what is to be done. Once the scrutiny is complete, information about whether your application has been accepted/rejected will be provided to you within 7 days from the date of the receipt of the application.
Living in Society
Every person with mental illness has the right to In other words, just because a person with mental illness has no family or is homeless does not mean that they will be institutionalized in a mental health establishment.
Right to Access Mental Healthcare
Every person has the right to access mental health care from government-funded mental healthcare services including acute mental healthcare services, accommodation, support to families, community based services and rehabilitation
Right to Equality and Non-Discrimination
No discrimination against a person with mental illness on any basis. This includes reasons such as gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, culture, caste, social or political beliefs, class or disability, among other rights. The law punishes mental health establishment or any other person who violate these rights.
Right to Live with Dignity
Every person with a mental illness has a right to live with dignity. Persons are protected from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in any mental health establishment. The law punishes mental health establishment or any other person who violate these rights.
Right to Legal Aid
Every person with mental illness has a right to free legal aid with respect to their rights but to get legal aid, you have to be eligible by fulfilling certain criteria.
Right to Information
It is the duty of the professional to give complete information to This information is provided during admission or at the start of the treatment.
Right to Complain
A person with mental illness or their nominated representative has the right to complain. It can be done regarding deficient care, treatment and related services in a mental health establishment. The person with mental illness also has the right to complain and go to Court in case of violation of their rights