Journal Article

Community Treatment Orders for People with Serious Mental Illness: A New Zealand Study

Anita Gibbs, John Dawson and Richard Mullen

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 7, pages 1085-1100
Published in print October 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Community Treatment Orders for People with Serious Mental Illness: A New Zealand Study

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New Zealand legislation allows for the involuntary outpatient treatment of people with serious mental illness. This study examines the views of service users, family members and mental health professionals (MHPs) about the impact of this regime. Semi-structured interviews were completed with forty-two service users, twenty-seven family members and ninety MHPs, with recent experience of the regime. Participants were asked to comment on the functions of community treatment (or non-resident) orders, their benefits and restrictions, decisions about their termination and any impact on relationships. Most service users believed the main purpose of the order was to ensure they took medication. They also believed the order provided better access to other treatments, supported accommodation and care from MHPs. Families considered the orders provided relief for them and a supportive structure for their relative’s care. MHPs found the orders useful for engaging service users in a continuing therapeutic relationship, and for promoting treatment adherence. In each group, a majority of those interviewed viewed involuntary community treatment in a generally positive light, while acknowledging the restrictions imposed on service users’ freedom.

Keywords: community treatment orders; outpatient commitment; mental health; service user

Journal Article.  7269 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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