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Mental Health Law - Essay Example

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The Mental Health Act of 1959 questioned whether a legal order to detain a patient in a hospital against the patient's wishes empowered the hospital to impose medical treatments. It did not, however, set controls on the application of treatment in the event it was determined that admission of such a patient was legal (Roberts, 2005)…
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Mental Health Law
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Download file to see previous pages The Act imposed certain legal controls such as the need for an approved social worker (ASW), trained and qualified in mental health, as well as the duty to provide aftercare for mentally disturbed patients leaving the hospital.
At the time, the Act was considered a major step forward in the care of the mentally ill. However, the terms "mentally ill" or "mentally disturbed" were not really descriptive of specific mental health problems. What is the difference between mental health and physical health What determines the kind of care needed by someone who is considered mentally unhealthy
Over the years, and especially since 1983, the government has made a point of trying to protect the rights of people suffering from different types of mental disorders through Codes of Conduct ("Mental Health," 1999). In 2004 the decision finally was made to update the Mental Health Act of 1983 when it was determined there were a number of areas neglected by researchers, for instance, services to support the carers as well as the patients. In addition, the public had demanded a plan for community care, and it was evident that understaffing and underfinancing were keeping improvements from being put in place (Roberts, 2005). Perhaps the most unforeseen result of the research that was done was discovering the broad range of mental disorders at all levels of need, each with its own definition, making a single definition of the phrase "mental illness" almost impossible.
Basic Mental Disorders
Only three types of mental disorders are considered here. The first type is categorised as "mentally handicapped." Several levels of capability can be attributed to an individual of legal age with diminished mental capacity, and admission as a mental health patient for such persons usually is considered "informal," with the patient having the same rights as any medical patient. They can refuse treatment and/or admission as long as they can understand what that treatment would be and why it was needed. Because they might not always understand what and why, the less time they have to spend in a hospital setting, the better. Two pilot projects underway to assist the mentally handicapped at all levels are establishment of community care resources and a self-advocacy movement that will enable mentally handicapped adults to formulate their own needs (Roberts, 2005).
As noted in the Essex Mental Health Services article ("The Mental Health Act," 1983), the second type of mental disorder is when a patient is diagnosed as "mentally ill," and such patients can be admitted for up to 28 days, with emergency assessment up to 72 hours, and if compulsory admission is approved, the patient can be kept for six months, with admission renewable for another six months, and assessment every 12 months after that. Although these people can volunteer to be admitted if they wish, compulsory admission can be instituted if a patient is considered dangerous to himself or others. Admission must be recommended by an approved social worker and two doctors. One doctor can admit for 72 hours, and police can transport a prospective patient to the hospital. As soon as practicable after admission, such patients must be informed that they are being detained, and they must ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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