Book of Proceedings: KEYNOTE PAPER: Debating Mental Health Laws – From Coercion To Choice

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Authors: Bernadette McSherry, VIC

Year: 2013

Event: 2013 TheMHS Conference

Subject: mental health legislation , human rights, SOCIAL EQUITY

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 978-0-9757653-7-2

Abstract: Most developed countries have laws that permit the detention and treatment of individuals with severe mental health problems without their consent. In Australia, a number of governments have recently undergone or are currently undertaking reviews of mental health legislation in the light of the principles set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Convention has generated debates about (a) whether mental health laws that enable involuntary detention and treatment should be abolished on the basis that they unjustifiably breach human rights; as well as (b) whether such laws can be reformed in the light of human rights principles to ensure respect for individual choices in relation to treatment. This paper explores what these debates may mean for the delivery of mental health services in the future.

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