After Newtown, there is widespread concern that laws regarding mental-health services need reform. Two places to start are the laws governing involuntary hospitalization, and the restrictions placed on communication with a patient's family.
Across the U.S. today, federal and state laws give people with mental illness the right to decide when, where, how, and if they will receive care. Yet some serious mental illnesses (such as schizophrenia or mania) can make it difficult for those affected to assess the reality of their own experiences or their need for treatment.
An individual with a mental illness that interferes with his judgment, self-interest, self-preservation and safety represents a profound challenge for families and clinicians. Doctors have remarked that when patient rights exceed truly necessary protections, individuals with mental illness can "die with their rights on." Sometimes they may harm others along the way.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
"The Tragedy of Mental-Health Law"
In the January 11, 2013 Wall Street Journal: