Your thoughts wanted on the Review of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act

johnboy 22 August 2012 2

The Health Directorate is kicking off a community consultation on the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act.

They promise that at some point you’ll be able to get busy on the Time To Talk website.

In the meantime there are a lot of documents to read.

The Summary of Proposed Changes lists these key amendments:

    — If a person is assessed to have capacity to make their own decisions, they cannot be placed on an involuntary treatment order. There is a ‘safety valve’ provision that in unusual circumstances where, despite the person’s capacity there is considered to be an overriding risk to their safety or the safety of others, an order can be made.

    — If a person is willing to accept treatment, but is assessed as not having capacity to give informed consent, consent to treatment should be given by a guardian, or a person holding power of attorney. In other words, there must be informed consent for any psychiatric treatment.

    — Principles and revised objectives are provided to guide interpretation of the Act.

    — Restrictions on electro?convulsive therapy (ECT) are increased. ECT is banned under the age of 12. For someone from age 12 and 18, two opinions (from a doctor and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) and an order by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) are required.

    — The maximum period of emergency detention is extended from 10 to 14 days.

    — Advance Agreements are recognised.

    — Powers of emergency apprehension and transport to hospital for assessment are extended to ambulance paramedics, so that they can largely replace police in this role.

    — A new class of orders for forensic mental health clients (mental health clients involved with the justice system) is created, that seeks to:
    — ensure the safety of members of the community from risk of serious harm, including through information sharing when care is shared between corrections and health providers;
    — identify and protect the treatment and care needs of people subject to criminal proceedings who are living with a mental illness or mental dysfunction;
    — better meet the needs of people seriously affected by the actions of forensic mental health clients; and
    — provide for voluntary mental health patients transferred from a correctional setting to mental health care.

    –Several changes are made in order clarify the intention and operation of the Act.

What's Your Opinion?

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2 Responses to Your thoughts wanted on the Review of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act
Mental Health Worker Mental Health Worker 7:29 am 05 Sep 12

Unfortunately, ECT is sometimes necessary, when there’s a need for urgent treatment. Or when nothing else has worked. One scenario is elderly people who are so depressed they cease eating and drinking. You won’t live long not drinking. ECT sometimes seems to “snap them out of it” and buy a little time for other interventions to work.

Given ECT is about as scientific as htting someone over the head with a baseball bat, but it’s a little more controlled than that approach.


Truthiness Truthiness 3:16 pm 24 Aug 12

These measures are bandages, they only effect people who are already so far gone as to need emergency care. We need to be catching and treating people early and often, not just waiting till they slip off the deep end.

Also, electroshock therapy is still allowed? I thought it fell out of fashion along with labotomies and radiation enemas. Well at least we can no longer torture children…

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