Mental Health Through the Lens of Law
How and to what extent do law and mental health intersect in society in both historical and contemporary times?
Keywords:law, mental health, human rights, perception, societal change, etiology, social influence, continuity
In 1959, The Mental Health Act became the first parliamentary act on mental health, intertwining the subject of legislation and mental health, resulting in a more serious consideration of mental health in parliament. This article will explore to what current extent legislation either reinforces or discourages the idea of an intersection between mental health and law. Consequently, an extensive review of the existing literature on mental health and human rights violations was conducted. Preliminary research and literature review argue that extensive evidence supports a connection between law and mental health. Contemporary times have elevated the importance and relevance of mental health within the law. This has primarily been caused by a greater understanding of sociological theories and a better understanding of how mental illness is related to our health in general. However, the reverse can be argued through the continuity of mental health as a definition, something that is not bound to the confines of legislation but rather is defined by society’s discussion and perception. The following article looks at perspectives of this argument, compiling the current interpretations of the intersection of law and mental health. Ultimately, this article concludes that frequent amendments to existing policies in combination with the introduction of the new legislation are required to adapt to changing perspectives on mental health and human rights in the modern day.
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