What Mental Health Laws Would You Change?

There are numerous proposals for improving mental health laws, but the question remains: What would you change? The current mental health legislation is incongruous with the CRPD. In particular, the ‘disorder and risk’ framework is discriminatory and ignores patients’ autonomy, feelings and will. It also fails to consider ‘will and preferences’, which are the foundation for any law on mental health. The fusion proposal aims to eliminate both these flaws.

The MHA supports full implementation of insurance parity. Advocacy groups should work with state attorneys general to set up a complaint line and publicize it widely. Mental health consumers deserve to know all the options available to them, and insurance companies must provide accurate information to them. To protect their rights, advocates should focus on ensuring that insurance companies provide complete information about the treatment options. For this purpose, advocates should contact insurance companies and demand accurate information about the costs and quality of care.

Changing the law to allow easier treatment for people with disabilities is one way to combat the epidemic of suicide. The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act was enacted more than 50 years ago and is still struggling with implementation. The law was created to protect patients from involuntary treatments. However, it doesn’t prevent all the deaths and suicides that occur in mental hospitals and other institutions.

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