Sexual abuse in Victoria’s mental wards is bad and getting worse

The Age, 11 December 2017
Author: Farrah Tomazin
“Fairfax Media can reveal that vulnerable people seeking psychiatric treatment in state-run hospitals continue to face unacceptable rates of sexual assault and violence, mostly from other patients, amid accusations that some staff are trying to cover up the extent of the problem.”
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Woman who rejected breast cancer diagnosis may undergo surgery without her consent

BMJ 2017; 359: j5358
Author: Clare Dyer
“A 66 year old woman with paranoid schizophrenia may be put under general anaesthetic and have surgery for breast cancer without her consent, a High Court judge has ruled. Mr Justice Keehan declared that the woman, referred to as JT, who denied that she had cancer, lacked the capacity to decide for herself whether to have the treatment.”
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Does section 63 of the Mental Health Act 1983 disempower patients with mental illness? Analysis of the case law

Medico-Legal Journal, 2 November 2017
Author: Bhanuka Senasinghe
“In England and Wales, detained psychiatric inpatients are treated under section 63 of the Mental Health Act 1983. This paper critically analyses the relevant law and considers the arbitrary distinctions between consent for treatments for mental illnesses and physical conditions, which may disempower patients with mental illness. Section 63 states that (for detained psychiatric patients) consent for medical treatment for patients’ mental disorder is not required. The treating clinician responsible for a patient decides what this medical treatment entails. This article focuses on three main legal cases: B v Croydon Health Authority, Tameside and Glossop v CH and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust v RC and considers whether s 63 disempowers patients with mental illnesses.”
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Increase in abuse and neglect in mental health and disability facilities

SMH, 19 October 2017
Author: Miki Perkins
“In one home for people with disabilities, toilet paper was rationed. In another, a resident was left in the garden for two hours on a roasting hot day. He had to be taken to hospital for exposure and sunburn. These are just two examples among hundreds of incidents of abuse, neglect and violence reported by community visitors – volunteer advocates who visit the state’s mental health and disability facilities to check on the welfare of residents.”
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IN THE MATTER OF ED (Mental Health) [2017] ACAT 84

Decision date: 18 October 2017
“MENTAL HEALTH – authorisation of short-term involuntary detention for immediate treatment, care or support – statutory preconditions for initial detention by a doctor for 3 days – Tribunal order extending the period of involuntary detention for a period not longer than an additional 11 days – Tribunal review of involuntary detention under section 85 of the Mental Health Act – relevant conditions and when they must apply for exercise of discretionary power.”
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Locked up, locked out – inadequate stats on mental health are failing prisoners

The Guardian, 11 October 2017
Author: Mary O’Hara
“Prisoners are among the most vulnerable people with mental health problems, yet the government does not collect even basic information on how many inmates have a mental illness, or the total number in need of treatment. This means, according to campaigners, that they are being repeatedly let down by the system.”
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How should the government overhaul mental health laws?

The Guardian, 10 October 2017
Author: Saba Salman
“The promise to overhaul the Mental Health Act 1983 is one of the few Conservative party manifesto pledges to survive the election. The decision to reform the act, which appeared in the Queen’s speech in June, means the government is committed to taking steps to overhaul the legislation in the next 12 months.”
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Mental health and human rights in Russia—a flawed relationship

The Lancet, 390 (10102), p1613–1615, September 2017
Author: Robert van Voren
“When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, new independent psychiatric associations were established in many of the former Soviet republics, and groups of reform-minded psychiatrists initiated projects to discard the old Soviet psychiatric system, a system notorious for its political abuse of psychiatry and characterised by an almost exclusively biological orientation and institutional form of care. Russia was no exception and even boasted some of the most prominent mental health reformers, such as psychiatrist Yuri Nuller in St Petersburg and the Moscow-based lawyer Svetlana Polubinskaya, an associate of the Institute of State and Law who formulated the Soviet Union’s last law on psychiatric help and Russia’s first law on psychiatric care, which was adopted in 1992.”
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Nonvoluntary Psychiatric Treatment Is Distinct From Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment

JAMA. 2017; 318(11): 999-1000.
Author: Dominic A. Sisti
“Some of the most ethically challenging cases in mental health care involve providing treatment to individuals who refuse that treatment. Sometimes when persons with mental illness become unsafe to themselves or others, they must be taken, despite their outward and often vigorous refusal, to an emergency department or psychiatric hospital to receive treatment, such as stabilizing psychotropic medication. On occasion, to provide medical care over objection, a patient must be physically restrained.”
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