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NIMHANS suggested ‘Gatekeeper Model’ to prevent suicides in prisons

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    2nd Aug, 2021

Context

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, has suggested the “Gatekeeper Model” to prevent suicides triggered by mental health issues in prisons all over the country.

About

About NIMHANS

  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) is a multidisciplinary institute for the care of the patient.
  • It is an academic pursuit in the field of mental health and neurosciences.
  • It provides high standards of clinical care, quality training, and cutting-edge research in the frontier areas.
  • The Central Government recognized the eminent academic position, growth, and contributions of NIMHANS, and declared it a ‘Deemed University in 1994.
  • In 2012, NIMHANS has conferred the status of an ‘Institute of National Importance under the NIMHANS Act.

What is the ‘Gatekeeper Model’ given by NIMHANS?

  • The model is developed based on the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The advisory under the model pointed out the prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorder in about 80% of the prison population under study.
  • It contains a set of guidelines on the management of mental health issues of the prisoners and prison staff.
  • The model suggests that prisoners with mental disorders had to be regularly assessed for the severity of the suicidal risk.
  • There has to be regular and supervised medication.
  • It also suggested having links to community-based initiatives such as the District Mental Health Programme.
  • The social support through trained prisoners called “buddies” or “listeners” is also impactful on the well-being of suicidal prisoners.
  • Periodic telephone conversations with friends and family would also foster support.

Significance of the Model

  • The COVID-19 virus had posed unique challenges to the world and the prisons.
  • There was a need to continue monitoring the situation rigorously and provide care to inmates and prison staff.
  • The model is also in line with the e-initiatives under the Digital India Mission for prisons.

Government e-initiatives for prisoners

1. National Prison Information Portal

  • This is an initiative of the central government under the Digital India Mission.
  • The portal is developed by National Information Center (NIC).
  • It aims to computerize and integrate all the activities which are related to prison and prisoner management in the jail.
  • It is a citizen-centric portal showing statistical data of various prisons in the country

2. ePrisons

  • It is an application suite, developed by NIC.
  • This is a cloud-based product designed with easy to use GUI and embedded with comprehensive security features.
  • This application suite consists of three main products: ePrisons MIS: Management Information System used at the prisons for their day to day regular activities, Prisoner Information Management System (PIMS), Visitor Management System (eVisitor),eHospital etc.

3. Kara Bazaar

  • The portal showcases and sells the products which are manufactured in various prisons of the country by inmates.

4. e-Mulakat

  • The State is at the forefront in the implementation of this initiative.
  • It is an online platform that enables relatives/friends/ advocates of prisoners to book a prior appointment for interviewing prisoners through the National Prisons Information Portal.
  • This was in addition to the video/voice call facility through mobile phones/telephone booths.

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