Mental Health Law Online: Annual Review 2011

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They have a right to timely information, support and inclusion, as well as the right to give information to assist in diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care. This engagement can be fostered in a number of ways, such as working with patients to identify who their carers are and what clinical information should be shared with them, assisting carers to navigate the complexities of health systems, and encouraging health practitioners to help carers maintain their own well-being RANZCP, The WA MHA, for example, mandates that family and carers be involved in the preparation and review of treatment, support and discharge plans s The MHAs presume that patients possess the capacity to make decisions regarding treatment, but this presumption can be tested.

The test is not whether a given decision is wise, but whether the patient can understand and remember the relevant information, use and weigh it, and communicate a decision Hunter, Supported decision-making may also involve preparing advance care statements while an individual retains decision-making capacity to set out their preferences in the event that their capacity is impaired in the future.

Human rights issues arise in many areas of psychiatric practice, including the deployment of resources, advocacy for the social rights of persons with mental illness, and the use of involuntary treatment Kelly, As stated, the least restrictive alternative applies throughout the Acts, placing a duty on psychiatrists to seek effective treatment in the community, and to do everything practicable to provide treatment on a voluntary basis. The least restrictive principle also applies to tightly regulate seclusion and restraint collectively known as restrictive interventions in acute mental health-care settings.

However, several MHAs go further, authorising these practices for additional reasons which the RANZCP does not support, such as the prevention of nuisance, absconding or property damage. Restrictive interventions must never be seen as a management tool, and we support government policy in Australia and New Zealand to reduce and, where possible, eliminate their use altogether.

This goal would be served by amending the MHAs, using standard language to ensure that safety is the only justification for seclusion and restraint. A range of practical approaches has helped to reduce the use of restrictive interventions. The Beacon Project developed and tested a series of techniques in hospitals across Australia Melbourne Social Equity Institute, , and the Canberra Hospital has had particular success through the use of weekly group meetings between patients and staff to review each use of seclusion and identify systemic issues or opportunities for better practice ACT Health, Rates of seclusion and restraint have fallen substantially in the last decade National Mental Health Commission, ; NZ Ministry of Health, , in part due to better training for staff in early intervention and de-escalation techniques.

The RANZCP supports the development of alternatives and recommends that facilities be resourced to ensure proper training and an adequate staff to patient ratio at all times. The MHAs mandate increasing oversight of the decisions made by psychiatrists to ensure that treatments are appropriate and the autonomy and dignity of patients is respected.

Further second opinions are more widely available, and are generally required before involuntary commitment can occur. Chief psychiatrists perform a number of roles under the MHAs. They have wide ranging powers to issue mandatory guidelines and monitor the clinical standards of psychiatric practice in public mental health services. Chief psychiatrists also investigate and respond to specific complaints from patients, carers and others and make appropriate orders, including directions to change the treatment being administered.

Tribunals help to safeguard human rights by reviewing orders for involuntary commitment and treatment. Their precise role and composition varies among the MHAs but they all draw upon clinical and legal expertise. In several MHAs, they also include a community member who has a special interest or experience in mental illness.

Mental Health Law Online: Annual Review 2012

Combined with their comparatively flexible, informal procedures, this range of expertise gives tribunals an advantage over courts when it comes to evaluating MHA orders Carney et al. PS Mental health legislation and psychiatrists: putting the principles into practice Page 6 of 10 Under the New Zealand MHA, however, judges are responsible for making compulsory treatment orders.

In each case, tribunals must establish if the treatment is clinically appropriate, 4 and reach their own decision as to whether the patient can give valid consent. Although tribunals play a vital role in upholding patient rights, it does not follow that ECT should be singled out among all other treatments for special regulation. ECT is an effective evidence-based treatment that should be available to patients when considered necessary by treating psychiatrists Brown et al, ; Petrides et al.

By strictly limiting the number of times that ECT can be applied within a given period, and requiring tribunal approval for each course of ECT, the MHAs can compromise clinical care. When a patient shows signs of improvement at a hearing, for example, the tribunal can be reluctant to approve further ECT, even though it may be required to avoid a high risk of relapse Loo, Current mental health systems in Australia and New Zealand are still a long way from meeting the aspirations embodied in the new MHAs.


  1. Table of Contents.
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  4. A number of barriers prevent best practice being provided to all persons seeking mental health care. Some of these barriers exist within the profession itself — a legacy of older attitudes from the asylum era.

    FREE US DELIVERY | ISBN: 1482058022 | Quality Books

    Barriers to best practice lie outside the profession as well. The new MHAs have introduced substantial new administrative requirements but governments have not always provided extra staff and resources to meet those requirements. As a result, many mental health services find that compliance with the MHAs comes at the cost of time spent on clinical practice. A final report was not issued. The Commission was directed to conduct a comprehensive examination of Virginia's mental health laws and services and to study ways to use the law more effectively to serve the needs of people with mental illness, while respecting the interests of their families and communities.

    Psychiatric Diagnosis: Lessons from the DSM-IV Past and Cautions for the DSM-5 Future

    Pay Traffic Tickets and Other Offenses. Payment Policies for Fines and Costs. Medicaid plays an important role in financing mental health services in the United States and will play a key role in ensuring access to behavioral health services under the health reform law. Mental Health Financing in the United States: A Primer , provides an overview of behavioral health care, reviews the sources of financing for such care, assesses the interaction between different payers and highlights recent policy debates in mental health.

    Additional information

    It also discusses the role of Medicaid, currently the largest source of financing for behavioral health services in the nation, covering a quarter of all expenditures. This comprehensive resource serves as a guide for those who want to understand the complex system of behavioral health financing in the United States. Medicaid Policy Options for Meeting the Needs of Adults with Mental Illness under the Affordable Care Act , examines the salient issues raised in a recent roundtable discussion of national and state experts convened by the Commission, in partnership with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, to discuss Medicaid policy options available under health reform to help meet the needs of adults with mental illness.

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will expand the Medicaid program, offering the opportunity to improve access to care for millions of Americans with mental health disorders. States face several decisions about designing benefits, structuring service delivery and conducting outreach and enrollment for this population, which has unique health and social service needs. This report highlights key policy opportunities and challenges related to these decisions.

    The discussion was the latest in an ongoing series of Health Reform Roundtables that explore key issues related to implementing the expansion of Medicaid under health reform. July 1, On or after Oct.

    Group,does not apply to any plan where application would result in a 1. After Nov. March 31, Mental or nervous conditions; alcoholism and drug addiction [i]. July 4, June 21, July 2, Treatment limitations or financial requirements on coverage of services for mental illness; June 30, Group policies to companies with more than 50 employees, public employees and small businesses that currently have mental health coverage.

    Mental Health Issues, Legal Defense and Developmental Disabilities

    Kansas mental health parity act; Insurance coverage for services rendered in treatment of alcoholism, drug abuse or nervous or mental conditions; ST , ; ST ,a ; Eff. July 15, ,. Group, blanket, and association health insurance, treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse; R. Severe mental illness and other mental disorders; R.

    Monitoring the Mental Health Act report | Care Quality Commission

    Jan 1, Mental health services coverage; ST T. Equitable health care for alcoholism and drug dependency treatment; ST T. Treatment for substance abuse; ST Coverage for treatment of conditions relating to severe mental illness; ST A. Benefits for treatment of abuse of alcohol and other drugs; ST A. July 15, August 11, Group health policy and health service contract substance abuse coverage; ST Group health policy and health service contract mental disorder coverage; ST March 30, January 1,

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