The Mental Health Act 2007 received Royal Assent on 19 July 2007 and amends the Mental Health Act 1983, the Mental Capacity Act of 2005 and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. This Act applies to England and Wales only.
The prior 1983 Act was largely concerned with people detained or incarcerated in mental hospitals where they could be given treatments with or without their consent.
The new Mental Health Act 2007, shifted focus on the treatment of people who live in the community or people who pose a risk or danger to themselves or others. The most obvious changes to the mental health act 2007, is the broad definition of ‘mental illness, the ‘criteria for detention’ and Supervised Community Treatments (SCT) which provides for Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) given to patients against their will.
The Mental Health Act is divided into different sections so when an individual is admitted to a hospital, voluntarily or involuntarily, this is commonly known as “being sectioned.”
The new definition for mental disorder abolishes all other previous definitions which attempted to at least characterise and define what a mental disorder is.
Opponents of the new Mental Health Act, claim this new definition is far too broad and does not give an adequate definition, allowing too many people to be classified as mentally ill. The new definition is too ambiguous: ‘any disorder or disability of mind.’
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