Mental Health Insurance LGBTQ+ Community

Mental health is still taboo in our society. However, the government has been trying to recognize mental health and is spreading awareness of the issue among the people. This is after the Indian government passed the Mental Health Act of 2017.

According to the definition of this law, “is to provide mental health care and services for persons with mental illnesses and to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of such persons during the provision of mental health care and services and for matters related to them or incidental to it”.

This was a big step for the government to ensure that mental health conditions are treated in the same way as physical health.

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Dr. Rishi Gautam, assistant professor of psychiatry at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC, USA, shed light on how, now that the government provides health insurance for mental health, it is affecting people from all communities. “Parity in its truest sense, although it remains a distant dream. See, for example, the recent case filed in the Delhi High Court in April 2021, where the petitioner successfully won his claim for treatment of schizoaffective disorder. A fairly disabling and commonly seen mental health condition. The claim was initially denied by the defendant in this case, National Insurance Company, using loopholes.”

According to a study published in The Lancet by Sagar et al. (2010), it is estimated that approximately 200 million people in India suffer from a mental health condition. And this study argues that the burden of disease described here is woefully low because of the stigma associated with reporting it.

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Dr. Gautam spoke about how the LGBTQIA community is also affected by this health insurance for mental health and whether or not they get equitable benefits from the services provided. “It’s even worse for the LGBTQIA community, who are routinely discriminated against and have worse overall health outcomes than their straight or cisgender peers.”

According to the WHO charter, health care is among the most important fundamental human rights established. “The queer community in India has been advocating for receiving healthcare as another fundamental and human right. The journey so far has had its ups and downs and most of the decision-making has been left to the judiciary,” says the Dr Gautam.

Image Credit: BCCL/Representative Images

According to Dr. Gautam, there are several initiatives that the public health sector needs to take to ensure that the LGBTIA community also gets the same rights and that there is meaningful change. Some ideas include:

Laws in India have not yet provided adequate rights to protect the LGBTQIA community, and while the right to life and the right to mental health care do not define any community, establishing health care rights, especially for the queer community, it can make a significant difference. .

Mental health education and awareness.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, talking about mental health has become even more important. The pandemic alone has left a huge mark on people’s mental health, and people are realizing that taking care of the mind can only result in better overall health. “Consciousness should be taught from the high school level, like we teach kids about the benefits of exercise, a healthy diet, etc.”

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The central government can use some refreshing ideas implemented by the state government to understand the needs of the community.

“Tamil Nadu and some other southern states have taken some refreshing steps by including a cultural competency curriculum in medical education that sensitizes the new generation of healthcare providers to be aware of the specific needs of different populations. “. A refreshing approach, if added to the curriculum in every state, can give the new generation a greater understanding of different genders and communities.

Expedited health care courts, insurance ombudsmen, and robust complaint redress systems are required.

Regardless of what we say, health is still the most important aspect of a person’s life. However, sometimes negligence in hospitals or by medical health experts or untimely health problems can create many problems. Therefore, insurance policies and health courts must expedite the process to provide full benefits to people in need.

Developing programs to officially recruit people from the LGBTQIA community into the healthcare sector could not only give them a great understanding of the structure, but also help others learn about the needs of the community. Thus creating an environment in which people feel safe to come for help.

Create financial incentives for institutions through payers that provide care to underserved communities.

Offer tax breaks, subsidized operating costs, infrastructure development, etc. it can be a great way to provide medical care to the underserved community, which is not receiving the proper treatments.

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Finally, Dr. Gautam says, “India has a very long and cherished history dating back thousands of years in celebrating diversity when it comes to gender norms, sexuality, etc.” “There have been some recent positive steps toward equity, but as a society, we must continue to push ourselves to do more.”

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