Mental Health Act

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An Act of Parliament to govern the treatment of people with a mental disorder, which is defined as including mental illness, personality disorder, and learning disability. For England and Wales the Mental Health Act 1983 has been amended by the Mental Health Act 2007. The legislation provides for the voluntary and compulsory (involuntary) assessment and treatment of the mentally disordered. The purposes of involuntary admission are both to act in patients’ best interests, providing treatment for them when they have lost insight into their illness, and to manage the risk that may arise from a mental disorder to the patients themselves or to others. One of the principal and most controversial amendments in the 2007 Act is the introduction of Community Treatment Orders, which provide for the involuntary treatment of patients who have left hospital. Further controversy surrounds the introduction of sexual deviancy as a mental disorder to which the Act applies. In Scotland the current legislation is the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, which came into effect in April 2005.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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