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NIMHANS : Guidelines On The Management Of Mental Health Issues

NIMHANS:Set Of Guidelines On The Management Of Mental Health Issues:

Acting on the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs, NIMHANS, an Institute of National Importance, issued a set of guidelines on the management of mental health issues of the prisoners and prison staff.

NIMHANS Guidelines:

  • Gatekeeper Model for Identification of Mental Illness:
    • In this model, selected inmates, trained to identify prisoners at risk of suicide, would refer them to treatment or supportive services.
    • It is a step to prevent suicides triggered by mental health issues in prisons across the country.
    • There is prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorder in about 80% of the prison population.
  • For Mental Health Treatment:
    • Prisoners with mental disorders had to be regularly assessed for severity of suicidal risk and also put on regular and supervised medication.
    • To address the prisoner’s mental health needs, the correctional facility should have links to community-based initiatives like the District Mental Health Programme.
  • Buddy System for Social Intervention:
    • It is a type of social support through trained prisoners called “buddies” or “listeners”.
    • It was found to have a good impact on the well-being of suicidal prisoners. Periodic telephone conversations with friends and family would also foster support.
    • e-Mulakat is an online platform enabling relatives/friends/ advocates of prisoners to book prior appointments for interviewing prisoners through the National Prisons Information Portal.