Saturday, August 2, 2008

Supervised Community Treatment

I have always appreciated the bills and laws that England has been trying with their mentally ill. Below you will find some of the verbage in one of their bills. England also now boasts that the killings committed by the mentally have gone down sharply and dramatically. In my opinion, we need to adopt some of the attitude that England has on the supervision and medication of diagnosed mentally ill patients in America. We don't want to take away their rights and return to the dark ages, but we do want them to take responsibility for their actions that effect their personal communities.

On 17 November 2006 the government announced its plan to introduce a Bill to make a range of amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983. One of the proposals is to introduce supervised treatment in the community to ‘ensure that patients comply with treatment and enable action to be taken to prevent relapse’ (Department of Health, 2006).

Two conditions need to be fulfilled to facilitate continuous treatment in the community. First, there has to be a mechanism to ensure that a patient participates in their treatment (including taking prescribed medication) while they remain in the community. Second, there must be a way to ensure continuity of this without interfering with the patients' status in the community.

Over the past 20 years, the courts in England and Wales have evolved case law governing the treatment of people with mental disorders in the community based on interpretation of the Mental Health Act 1983. What has emerged is that section 17 of the 1983 Act provides sufficient provisions for the supervised treatment of patients while they remain largely in the community.

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