Mental Health Issues In The Uk

1927 Words 8 Pages
According to UK law, under the Mental Health Act of 1983, a person may be legally detained if they are suffering from a mental illness which makes it appropriate for them to receive medical treatment in a hospital, and it is necessary for the safety of the patient or other people that they receive this treatment, which can’t be provided unless the patient is detained . One definition of mental illness states that it is ‘a condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behaviour or thinking ’. However, a problem with using the term ‘mental illness’ is that it covers an extensive range of conditions, and degrees of severity. Indeed, one study found that as many as 1 in 6 British adults have a diagnosable mental health condition at any …show more content…
Detaining a person with mental health issues has both advantages and disadvantages for the patient, but the doctor must also consider the risk the person poses to the general public. In 1997, it was found that of 1017 schizophrenia patients who were having their first contact with psychiatry services, 20% had assaulted another person in the past . Whilst this study only looked at patients with schizophrenia, it highlights that people with certain mental health disorders may seriously harm or even kill members of the public, as in the case of Christopher Clunis in 1992. Clunis was known to a range of services, including psychiatrists, social workers and the police, as a mentally ill patient with a history of violence who was a risk to the general public. Despite this evidence he was not detained and the treatment he did receive from public services failed to prevent him from murdering Jonathan Zito . In circumstances such as this, where there is clear evidence of substantial risk to the public, the compulsory detention of the patient is likely to outweigh any potential infringement of their personal rights or risk of psychological trauma and fulfil the doctor’s duty of care to the …show more content…
The principle of beneficence encourages using treatment to provide benefit to the patient and contribute positively to their wellbeing. Using beneficence as an argument, it should be acceptable to detain mentally ill patients if they pose a risk to themselves. By making sure patients with self-harming tendencies are not able to follow through with these ideas, you are acting in the patient’s best interest and preventing them from causing damage to their health. Furthermore, by sectioning a patient, you also have the opportunity to treat them, using either somatic methods, such as drugs or electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapeutic methods, such as behaviour therapy techniques or hypnotherapy, or a combination of both. It also allows for the close monitoring of patients in hospital which means you are able to assess their health, prescribe the most appropriate treatment, and also make sure the patient complies with the treatment, all of which will benefit the patient and aid in their recovery. While the beneficent approach may be viewed as paternalistic, there is clearly a moral case for detaining patients in order to administer treatment in the best interests of the

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