Policy and law

How can policies and laws affect people with schizophrenia?

Mental health laws in many countries limit involuntary hospital admissions to patients who meet an obligatory dangerousness criterion (ODC) for risk to themselves or others. This policy approach is in use throughout Australia, the USA, and some areas of Canada and Europe. Alternative criteria implemented in the UK and other parts of Canada and Europe allow involuntary treatment in the absence of dangerousness, on the grounds of an assessed need for treatment if the patient is deemed unable to give consent.

What is the evidence regarding policies and laws relevant to schizophrenia?

Moderate to high quality evidence indicates that a requirement for patients to satisfy an obligatory ‘dangerousness’ criterion to allow compulsory treatment may be associated with a longer duration of untreated psychosis.

January 2019

Last updated at: 12:14 am, 29th March 2019
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