"MY VOICE SHOULD STILL BE HEARD": CHANGING THE APPROACH TO THE CONSENT OF MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS

Charlotte Hill

Abstract

Under the Mental Health Act 1983, when a patient is formally detained in a psychiatric hospital their views about treatments relevant to their mental illness are completely disregarded. A majority of treatments can be given irrespective of whether a detained patient consents, even when patients retain decision-making capacity. Detained patients are denied autonomy. The Mental Health Act strips away patients’ ability to control what is or is not done to their bodies. This presentation argues the time for change is long overdue.