Lawmakers approve changes to mental health law

TAIPEI, Nov. 29 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan passed amendments to the Mental Health Act on Tuesday. Once the amendment goes into effect, compulsory hospitalization of at-risk individuals will require court approval.

Under the revised rules, only judges will be allowed to issue compulsory hospitalization orders. It is based on court hearings involving psychiatrists and patient rights group representatives using a system of public evaluators.

In addition, the duration of compulsory hospitalization is usually limited to 60 days.

Meanwhile, the amendments also include provisions to extend mental health services to all “persons” living in Taiwan and effectively cover foreigners, as well as provisions to establish community mental health facilities and diversify resources. is included.

The cabinet said in January that the amendments, first proposed by the health ministry, were in line with the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Amendments to the law will come into force two years after their promulgation. However, the provisions on compulsory hospitalization and penalties will not come into force until the date specified by the Executive Yuan and the Judicial Yuan.

The amendments are part of a government plan to overhaul mental health delivery in Taiwan, including the establishment of a multi-agency National Mental Health Command Center.

The command center will create a 24-hour emergency response system that integrates central and local government agencies, law enforcement agencies and medical experts, according to the Cabinet.

A series of high-profile crimes, including the 2016 beheading of a four-year-old girl on the streets of Taipei by a man diagnosed with schizophrenia, has allowed people with mental illness to slip through cracks in Taiwan’s courts. There is growing concern that current treatment regime.

The girl’s mother, Wang Yuanyu (王婉優), is now a member of parliament for the New Forces Party, and hopes that the revised rules will “reduce regret and pain” and contribute to a safer society.

Wang added that there is a lack of community support systems for people with mental illness. This is an issue that the government has overlooked and needs to pay more attention to, she said. Lawmakers approve changes to mental health law

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