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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Mental Illness, Human Rights and the Law

Brendan D. Kelly

Price: £40.00

Members' discount available

Published: Jun 2016

Format: Hardback

Number of pages: 272

ISBN: 9781909726512

Mental Illness, Human Rights and the Law

This is a book about psychiatry, mental illness and human rights. It is also, unashamedly, a manifesto for change, calling for reconsideration of the ways in which the human rights of people with mental illness are protected and promoted, and calling for social activism in addition to enhanced psychiatric care.

It explores international human rights standards and the law relating to the right to liberty of people with mental illness in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Recent legislative changes in all of these jurisdictions are analysed from a human rights perspective. It also takes a broader perspective, focusing on a range of social injustices and denials of rights commonly experienced by people with enduring mental illness. 

It includes up-to-date discussion of: the 2015 Report of the Expert Group on the Review of the Mental Health Act 2001 (Ireland); the Mental Capacity Bill 2015 (Northern Ireland); Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015; lessons that other jurisdictions can learn from recent reforms in England and Ireland. 

Readership: This book is pitched at all psychiatrists (from trainees to consultant) and other mental health professionals. It will also be of interest to lawyers practising in the area of mental health. It will be especially useful for general adult psychiatrists working with mental health legislation, and approved social workers.

About the author: Professor Brendan D. Kelly is Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

See other books on mental health legislation.

"The package in its entirety including the substance of this work, the foreword, the layout and design and the additional information (case law and various international documents) make for a work of exceptional quality. It will undoubtedly be the primary source for information on mental health law and human rights in these islands."
- Irish Medical Journal

Summarised contents list



Foreword by Professor Tom Burn



  1. Human rights and mental illness
  2. Mental Health Acts 1983 and 2007: England and Wales           
  3. Fusing mental health and capacity legislation: Northern Ireland
  4. Mental Health Act 2001: Ireland                         
  5. The challenges of reform: Scotland
  6. Structural violence, power and mental illness      
  7. Conclusions: fighting for rights



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