The Mental Health Act 1983 was an Act of parliament that applies to individuals in England and Wales only. It covers the treatment, diagnosis and recovery of mentally ill persons, their housing and other associated issues. This act can be described as an amalgamation of several previous legislation, such as the Mental Patients’ Bill 1953, Mental Hygiene Act 1948 and the Social Work Act 1953. These previous acts provided a framework for the provision of mental health care but lacked specific provisions regarding care, accommodation and recovery.
This Act covers all aspects of mental health problems, including those that arise during the recovery process, such as those that can result from hospital admissions, mental illnesses, drug or alcohol abuse, and psychiatric conditions. The Act provides a central authority with responsibility for ensuring that the rights and responsibilities relating to mental illness are upheld throughout the country.
As with any legislation, the Act is administered by a number of different statutory bodies, such as the National Health Service Commissioning Board and the General Medical Council. It also has provisions for local councils, hospitals and voluntary organisations.
Mental Health Act 1983 stipulates that people who receive NHS treatment should not be discriminated against because of their mental illness. They must be given the same right to confidentiality and care as anybody else who receives the same type of treatment, which is known as “duty of silence”. For example, people with mental illnesses are not permitted to speak to anyone about their illness except with the consent of the psychiatrist.
The Mental Health Act also lays down minimum standards of care, and regulations concerning the care and treatment of a mentally ill patient are outlined in the Mental Health Order Act 1984. The law on mental illness and treatment was first introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 1908. This law stipulated that any person accused of being insane or of a lunacy would be given all the necessary facilities by the courts before being executed. This law was later extended to include the death penalty in England and Wales but the UK Supreme Court overturned this decision in 1967.
Since then the law on mental disorder has been updated to give more power and flexibility to those with mental disorders, allowing them more protection than in previous times. However, a major hurdle that has stood in the way of more effective mental health legislation has been the fact that it had to be passed by both Houses of Parliament in separate pieces of legislation, each affecting different areas of mental health care.
A mental disorder may arise at any time and without warning and cause severe symptoms to sufferers, which could be quite debilitating for the sufferer. The Mental Health Act specifies that a doctor must diagnose the disorder, which is done through an assessment of the person’s physical, mental and emotional state. The severity of the disorder will determine the kind of treatment required by the doctor and the extent of treatment that are offered.
There are specific guidelines that doctors follow when diagnosing a mental disorder, so that they are able to provide appropriate treatment and support to patients. For example, a person suffering from bipolar disorder should be under a physician’s supervision for a certain period of time until the doctor is sure that the individual does not suffer from a psychotic episode.
Although a doctor can diagnose a patient suffering from a mental disorder with complete certainty, there are no legal repercussions for false or unsubstantiated accusations if the patient makes the accusation against another person. The Mental Health Act also covers victims who suffer from a mental disorder that causes them to be unable to cope with everyday tasks. The act does not specify how long the victims have to suffer from the condition, which is why it is important for the government to develop legislation that will help victims in this situation. in developing a suitable program to help these people cope with daily activities.
In order to qualify for a compensation claim in court, the patient must show that their condition was caused by a mental disorder that caused them to be unable to cope with everyday activities. These include tasks such as cooking, taking baths, dressing, eating, going to work or performing ordinary tasks. It is also possible for the patient to claim for emotional and psychological damage resulting from the condition.
Some psychologists believe that, at present, the Mental Health Act is not strong enough to protect victims of mental illnesses and treat them with equal regard to those suffering from other forms of mental illnesses. However, the Mental Health Act still leaves a loophole in case where victims of other types of mental disorders sue the state for not providing adequate care and treatment. This is because it only specifies the nature of the disorder and does not define the various other aspects that are involved and therefore allows other laws and legislation to apply to the case.