Authors: Judy Clisby and Marilyn Starr, NT
Event: 2007 TheMHS Conference
Subject: HUMAN RIGHTS AND ETHICS, Choice and Risk
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The principle of ‘the Least Restrictive Alternative’ forms the basis of the 1991 UN Principles for the Protection of People with Mental Illness and for the Improvement of Mental Health Care, and underpins mental health policy, legislation and practice in Australia today. Yet there are varying understandings and interpretations of what is meant by the term ‘least restrictive’. It will be shown that differences in understandings can lead to mental health practice that is more restrictive, even though mental health policy makers and practitioners may be committed to practice in accordance with ‘the Least Restrictive Alternative’. Using current literature and case exemplars, this paper challenges current interpretations of what is meant by ‘the Least Restrictive Alternative’. It explores alternative ideas and conceptions to assist in understanding the complexities inherent in the provision of a service that is truly the ‘least restrictive’.