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Chapter 16

PSYCH257 Chapter 16: Mental Health Services: Legal and Ethical Issues

Course Code
Allison Kelly

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Chapter 16
Mental Health Services: Legal and Ethical Issues
-Civil commitment laws- under the provincial or territorial mental health acts that
detail when a person can be legally detained in psychiatric institution - even against
his/her will.
-Criteria for Civil Commitment - there should be 3 conditions:
a. The person has a mental disorder
b. The person is dangerous to himself or herself or others
c. Person is in need of treatment
- Two types of authority permit the government to take actions that are against a
citizen’s will
a. Police power
- The government takes responsibility for protecting the public health,
safety and welfare and can create laws and regulations to ensure this
b. Parens patriae (state as the parent) power
- Used to commit individuals with severe mental illness to mental health
facilities when it is believed that they might be harmed because they
are unable to secure the basic necessities of life such as food and
- The govt. Acts as a surrogate parent
-Compulsory Community Treatment (CCT): Patient must satisfy one of the two
treatments of CCT:
a. The patient must have some risk of increased mental deterioration
b. Possibly pose harm to himself/herself/others
-Mental illness- it is a legal concept, typically meaning severe emotional or thought
disturbances that negatively affect an individual’s health and safety
Mental illness is not synonymous with psychological disorders; receiving a DSM-5
diagnosis does not necessarily mean that a person fits the legal definition of
someone having a mental illness.
- Dangerous
a. It is a particularly controversial term for people with mental illness; according
to a popular opinion, people who have a mental illness are more dangerous
than those who do not.
b. The results of research or dangerousness and mental illness are mixed, but
evidence points to a moderately increased rate of violence among people with
mental illness.
c. Among incarcerated individuals, inmates with serious mental illness are less
likely to commit a new violent offence on release than inmates without serious
mental illness.
- Deinstitutionalization and Homelessness
Two trends have influenced the number of people in Canada who are
involuntarily committed each year.
a. The increase in the number of people who are homeless
b. The movement of people with severe mental illness out of institutions.
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