A critical evaluation of the human rights of involuntary mental health care users
The regulation of mental health care has its roots in Roman law. The history of the regulation of mental health care may be described as belonging in the darker pages of history. Mental health laws in South Africa have moved from being centred around the detention of mentally ill persons to ultimately being centred on the protection of their rights. The Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002 read with the Bill of Rights is the main legislation regulating mental health care in South Africa. The study critically evaluates the rights provided to involuntary mental health care users in terms of the Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002 and the Bill of Rights in order to determine compliance with International Human Rights standard as provided in international instruments. The study finds that the protection of rights of involuntary mental health care users does conform to the international human rights standards. The study also provides a comparison of the South African protection of rights of involuntary users to the United Kingdom mental health care regulation in order to determine whether there are any lessons to be learnt. The study recommends introduction of reforms in respect of institutions created to protect the rights of mentally ill persons in terms of the Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002.
- Law