European Legislation on Compulsory admission

Introduction

The involuntary placement and involuntary treatment of mentally ill patients are central issues in mental health care. Their massive impact upon the liberty and freedom of the persons concerned have made them a topic of controversial legal and ethical debates for more than 100 years. These debates evolve from the necessity to apply coercive measures in certain circumstances, a fact which singularly distinguishes psychiatry from most other medical disciplines. Thus, during the 19th and 20th centuries different approaches to regulating the application of coercive measures were developed across Europe and all over the world that depend on a variety of cultural or legal traditions, as well as on different concepts and structures of mental health care delivery.

The application of coercive measures in mental health care has to balance three different and often controversial interests:

  • the basic human rights of the persons concerned,
  • public safety, and
  • the need for adequate treatment of the person concerned.

Compulsory Admission and Involuntary

Events

News


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