Mental Health Act Essay example

1352 Words 6 Pages
Introduction:
The right to mental health is a fundamental human right. The World Health Organization reflected this right as the utmost achievable standard of health in its constitution of 1946. In 1991, the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution embraced the “Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and for the Improvement of Mental Health Care”. This doctrine constituted the foundation of devising mental health strategies around the world including Australia. The United Nations in 2007 formulated “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”; a treaty to promote, protect and ensure the rights and freedoms of people with disabilities. Mental health in NSW is governed under the NSW mental health
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Critics reason that the person should be given reasonable information about the illness and be allowed to make an independent decision if they wish to pursue treatment or not. There is a lot of deliberation about the “serious risk of harm” guiding the verdict to involuntarily assess or treat a person due to the unreliability of risk assessment. Ryan, Nielssen, Paton and Large (2000, p. 398) found majority of patients classified as high risk will not commit any harmful acts [2].
The NSW mental health act allows for involuntary detention and treatment of people having suicidal ideas, plans or attempts. Wilce (2003, pp. 1-3) in his Kirketon road center submission to the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues maintained that individuals should retain the right to indulge in potentially self-destructive behavior, if they are of sound mind and don’t harm others [3]. This also brings us to the very significant problem regarding people diagnosed with a personality disorder. Queries have been raised about the legitimacy of detaining / treating people diagnosed with a severe personality disorder. We are treading on thin ice by detaining people who self-harm while being sound in mind just because they don’t conform with the present “ideal”. One reason assumed for this involuntary management is “their own good”. History has repetitively demonstrated this to be

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