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Mental Health Law 

Mental Health Law
Chapter:
Mental Health Law
Author(s):

Anthony Holland

, Elizabeth Fistein

, and Cathy Walsh

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198749851.003.0010
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date: 18 November 2019

Mental health is everyone’s concern, an idea epitomized by the campaign tag line of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, ‘No Health Without Mental Health’. This chapter will demonstrate how an understanding of a patient’s mental health within his/her social and family context is central to clinical practice. We will consider the legal basis for the treatment of mental ill-health and how it can complicate the treatment of physical illness and lead to ethical and legal concerns. The general legal principles that govern health interventions are explored, and two specific statutes for England and Wales—the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended 2007)—are both considered in some detail. It will be shown how a sound appreciation of the clinical issues, an understanding of the law, and an ability to apply that law in clinical settings are essential when faced with situations involving mental ill-health.

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