Jump to content

Mental health advanced choice documents ‘would reduce sectioning’

Fewer people with mental illnesses would endure the trauma of being sectioned if advanced choice documents – setting out a treatment plan while they are well – were included in Mental Health Act reforms, a leading psychiatrist has said.

Advanced choice documents are the only proven way to reduce the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act in England and Wales, which is one of the reforms’ core objectives, said Dr Lade Smith, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Research suggests that the use of these documents can reduce compulsory detention rates in psychiatric units, often known as sectioning, by 25%, minimising traumatic experiences for people with bipolar, schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.

“It’s high time there was reform of the Mental Health Act because the rates of detention are increasing, especially for marginalised groups, those who are poor or from a minoritised ethnic community, especially black Caribbean … Advanced choice docs were a recommendation of the review, I don’t know why they haven’t gone through,” said Smith.

Advanced choice documents are especially effective in reducing the significantly higher detention rates for black people with mental illnesses, as they can help patients feel more autonomous and reduce unconscious bias.

Advanced choice documents are similar to those used in palliative care. Patients work with a healthcare professional when they are well to outline the signs that they are experiencing a manic or psychotic episode, effective treatments, and their personal preferences.

This could include background information and trigger questions to help healthcare practitioners establish delusional thought patterns; medications and doses which have been effective previously; and requests to be put in hospital for their own safety, or – more unusually – that of others.

Read full story

Source: The Guardian, 12 February 2024


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...