China mulls new mental health law

China mulls new mental health lawBeijing, June 13 - China is mulling over a law that gives people the freedom to decide if they need a mental health check instead of compulsory tests for mental disorders.

Tests must be carried out only at the discretion of the patient or their guardian, says the draft law being considered. China has over 100 million mentally ill people.

To seek public opinion on the issue, the government has posted the full text of the document on the website of the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office.

The draft law states that it is the responsibility of the civil affairs authorities to send homeless people suspected of suffering mental disorders to mental health institutions.

It also states that people who have recovered from the illness can be discharged from hospitals at their discretion. If a patient is severely-ill and doctors consider their discharge from hospital inappropriate, then their guardians must be consulted.

The draft law also provides right to education, work, medical insurance, privacy and social assistance to mental health patients, Global Times reported Sunday.

In 2009, more than 100 million people in China suffered from mental illness, of which 16 million were severe, according to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (IANS)