The Mental Health Act Of 1983 Essay

1927 Words Jan 26th, 2016 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 one time . Clearly the fact that a person who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition does not necessarily make them a candidate for detention. Yet figures for compulsory detention in the UK show that in 2014, a total of 18,166 mentally ill patients were detained in a hospital under the Mental Health Act . The debate about whether this detention is morally justified ranges from those who argue that people with mental health disorders should never be detained, as it infringes their autonomy and the right they have over their own body, to those who believe that patients should be detained if it is in their best interest to do so, or if they pose a significant risk either to themselves or to the public.
The case for the compulsory…

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