History
Fact-checked

At HistoricalIndex, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What are the Different Types of Mental Health Legislation?

Mental health legislation encompasses a variety of laws aimed at protecting individuals with mental health conditions, ensuring access to care, and providing support for treatment and recovery. These laws range from compulsory treatment orders to anti-discrimination statutes and mental health parity laws. Curious about how these laws affect you or your loved ones? Dive deeper to understand their impact on everyday life.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In the past few decades, the field of mental health has grown by leaps and bounds. Many people now believe that the importance of mental health is on par with that of physical health. There is, however, often debate over the importance of mental health care and the responsibilities that health insurance companies have to cover this kind of care. With the development of the mental health field has come appropriate legislation. Many of the debates regarding mental health care are represented by mental health legislation and the overturning or amending of such legislation.

The key topics that are covered in mental health care legislation are the treatment of patients who require mental health care and the ways in which therapists, doctors, hospitals, the families of patients, and insurance companies are responsible for patients. The word responsible is key here. Mental health legislation is often enacted with the intention to clarify who is responsible for the people who require mental health care and the costs incurred with providing mental health care

Mental health legislation covers the treatment of patients undergoing mental health care.
Mental health legislation covers the treatment of patients undergoing mental health care.

Two examples of mental health legislation are the Mental Health Parity Act and the Mental Health Act of 1983. While these examples are limited to legislation that has passed in the United States and the United Kingdom, there are other countries that have passed mental health legislation as well. Canada and Australia, for examples, have also passed mental health legislation.

Medical insurance plans must cover some mental health needs in the United States.
Medical insurance plans must cover some mental health needs in the United States.

In 1996, the United States signed into legislation the Mental Health Parity Act, which is often abbreviated to MHPA. This act stipulates that health insurance issuers and group health plans must not put dollar limits on mental health care that are lower than the limits for medical and surgical treatments and procedures. In October, 2008, the Mental Health Parity Act was, for the most part, superseded by legislation that was attached to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The Mental Health Act of 1983 was an act of the United Kingdom’s Parliament that applied to people living in England and Wales. This act set rules and regulations for the care and treatment of people with mental disorders. The act also set rules about what is to be done about the property and personal affairs of a person being treated as an in-patient for a mental health disorder. It also includes legislation regarding the detainment of people suffering from mental health disorders against their will.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main objectives of mental health legislation?

The primary objectives of mental health legislation are to protect the rights of individuals with mental health conditions, ensure access to appropriate care and treatment, and provide a legal framework for services. This includes safeguarding against discrimination, ensuring the right to privacy, and establishing standards for mental health care providers. Legislation also aims to promote mental health awareness and education, as well as to support research and prevention strategies.

How does mental health legislation vary between countries?

Mental health legislation varies significantly between countries due to differing cultural, social, and economic contexts. Some countries have comprehensive laws that cover a wide range of issues, while others may have outdated or limited provisions. For example, according to the World Health Organization, as of 2011, 59% of WHO Member States had standalone mental health legislation, reflecting diverse approaches to mental health care and legal protections.

What is the role of involuntary treatment in mental health legislation?

Involuntary treatment, also known as compulsory treatment, is a contentious aspect of mental health legislation. It allows for individuals to be treated without their consent under specific circumstances, typically when they are deemed a danger to themselves or others, or are unable to make informed decisions due to their mental state. The legislation sets strict criteria and safeguards to protect the rights of those subjected to involuntary treatment, including judicial or administrative review.

How do mental health laws address the issue of stigma and discrimination?

Mental health laws often include provisions aimed at reducing stigma and discrimination against individuals with mental health conditions. These provisions may mandate the promotion of public awareness campaigns, ensure equal rights in employment and education, and enforce anti-discrimination measures in healthcare and other services. The goal is to foster a more inclusive society where mental health is treated with the same importance and sensitivity as physical health.

What impact has the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) had on mental health legislation?

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has had a significant impact on mental health legislation by framing mental health issues within the context of human rights. It emphasizes the importance of autonomy, dignity, and the right to participate fully in society for individuals with disabilities, including those with mental health conditions. Many countries have reformed their mental health laws to align with the principles of the CRPD, promoting a shift towards community-based care and the protection of individual rights.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for HistoricalIndex, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

Learn more...
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for HistoricalIndex, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Mental health legislation covers the treatment of patients undergoing mental health care.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      Mental health legislation covers the treatment of patients undergoing mental health care.
    • Medical insurance plans must cover some mental health needs in the United States.
      By: contrastwerkstatt
      Medical insurance plans must cover some mental health needs in the United States.