Mental Health Reform (Point Counterpoint) by Alan Marzilli

By Alan Marzilli

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Additional resources for Mental Health Reform (Point Counterpoint)

Sample text

Doctors might seek a commitment order simply to gain more control in the relationship or, even worse, to generate more business. Families might have family members with mental illness committed to a hospital simply to give the family a break from caring for the person. In an interview with The Psychiatric Times, psychiatrist Dan Creson gave real-life examples of how the commitment process has been misused. Creson charged that doctors have committed their What if you had an illness patients to hospitals simply because that enabled your family to imprison you whenever you the patients had started smoking did something “wrong”?

Expanding the standards of commitment would open the system to abuse, and it is fundamentally unfair to restrain the liberty of a person who has not committed a crime. The real problem, opponents say, is a lack of services in the community. 43 Doctors, Hospitals, and Family Members Need More Control Over the Treatment of People with Mental Illness O pinion polls conducted among doctors reveal that it is an extremely frustrating time to practice medicine. Increasingly, doctors’ ability to treat their patients is curtailed by restrictions imposed by managed care companies, such as Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), which seek to control medShould anyone ical costs by placing limits on the other than a patient types of care that doctors provide.

2 46 MENTAL HEALTH REFORM Like restrictive commitment laws, many other laws that some people view as reforms in mental health rights have caused other people to wonder whether the United States has gone too far in protecting individual rights. Examples include confidentiality laws, which often shut family members out of treatment decisions, and laws restricting certain types of treatment. Many have questioned whether laws that were designed to protect individual rights are actually harming people with mental illness by preventing doctors, hospitals, and family members from ensuring that people get the care that they need for their illness.

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