17-Year-Old Files PIL For Implementation Of Mental Healthcare Act At Delhi HC


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court sought a response from the capital’s government on Monday on a petition concerning the mental health of students in schools and colleges. A PIL was filed by Devina Singh, a 17-year-old student, for the implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 in educational institutions.

The bench consisting of Justices D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice & also sought a response from the Institute Of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences, New Delhi.

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In the PIL, Singh, who was represented by senior advocate Sonia Mathur contended that children and adolescents are vulnerable to mental disorders and the healthcare system does not prioritize mental health based on the National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16. She has claimed that stress, fear, depression, insomnia, disconnectedness, and lack of self-confidence, are the issues widely prevalent among students but left unattended.

According to a PTI report, the petition says that there is no comprehensive assessment, evaluation, and diagnostics/ protocols/ standard operating procedures (SOP) regarding the mental health of students in contrast with physical health where assessment and follow-up are done at periodic intervals. It also talks about a direct correlation between academic stress and performance and sound mental health and if left untreated, mental disorders in children can lead to more complex disorders, school dropout, addiction, and self-harm.

The plea also said that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge psychological impact on the students, resulting in acute and chronic stress because of parental anxiety, disruption of daily routines, increased family violence, and home confinement with little or no access to peers, teachers, or physical activity. The petition, filed through advocate Rahul Kumar, has sought the mandatory presence of clinical psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals in each school and college of the district for the assessment of the mental health of students.

A direction is also sought to authorities to implement the National Mental Health programme for the benefit of students and to conduct a mental health survey on regular basis/periodic intervals.



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