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The prescriptive nature of Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) has led to debate about the coercive nature of this legislative development. This debate helps to show the interface between ethics and the law in mental health practice: on what basis is it just to lawfully deprive a person of freedom(s)? Discuss.
Mental health services are an important aspect for maintaining the health of the people. It is a significant part of the health system. Involuntary psychiatric treatment has been a debated topic since the last 30 years in the mental health law. Involuntary practice creates stress and upholding of human rights. It is desired to use minimised involuntary and restrictive care to the patients. The rates of community treatment orders (CTOs) range from 98.8 per 100,000 population in Victoria (Light E. , Kerridge, Ryan, & Robertson, 2016). All the Australian mental health acts promote the use of CTOs to enhance the community based mental health care. The CTOs may be considered similar to the involuntary psychiatric treatment, which does not consider the patient's consent regardless of their refusal to treatment. Regardless of the use of CTOs since a long period of time, it has been in debate due to its coercive nature and in terms of efficacy and acceptability (Molodynski, Rugkasa, & Burns, 2010).
CTOs may not be responsible for changing the outcome of a mental illness, but the gain may be measured in terms of readmissions, ability to reduce long hospital stays, and acceptability of the patient and the family members. Evidences show that there is an acceptance and understanding between the consumers, carers and the health professionals as the CTOs are delivered through the community mental health care services in the public health setting. This reliance prevails over the feeling of loss of autonomy, coercion and loss of self-independence. After the completion of the treatmen, the patient's anger against the care providers are reduced with their improvement in health condition (Harris, et al.). This essay discusses the interface between ethics and the law in mental health practice, especially in relation to CTOs. Further, this essay will present the legal, policy and ethical frameworks for mental health practice, evidence-based practice for mental health and well-being, and the impact of mental illness on the individual and society. Additionally, it effectively discusses the potential implications of CTO administration on the mental health practices.
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