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Mental health and the law

​Mental Health and wellbeing is everyone’s business.

One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime and one in six adults have a mental health problem at any one time.

Mental health problems affect people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. The impact of mental illness can be devastating and can affect a wide range of areas in a person’s life. However, recovery from mental illness is possible and the majority of people who experience an episode of mental illness are able to manage their symptoms without requiring support from formal services (such as community mental health teams and in-patient psychiatric units).

However, there are situations where an urgent response is needed and when the Law has to be applied in order to detain a person to hospital. This only happens in situations of genuine urgency, where a community response is not practicable and where there are elements of risk.

You can read the Mental Health (Jersey) Law 2016 on the Jersey Law website.

The law came into force on Monday 1 October 2018.

Code of Practice and principles

A Code of Practice has been devised which provides statutory guidance to professionals and general guidance to members of the public. The Code is underpinned by five specific principles.

Mental health (Jersey) Law 2016 Code of Practice

Least restrictive option and maximising independence

Detention under the Law should be a last resort and only considered if all other options are not safe or practicable.

Empowerment and involvement

Patients should be actively involved in the planning, developing and reviewing of their own care and treatment.

Respect and dignity

People taking decisions under the Law must recognise and respect the diverse needs, values and experiences of each patient.

Purpose and effectiveness

Care, support and treatment provided under the Law should reflect best practice and the guidance of professional bodies.

Efficiency and equity

Equal priority should be given to mental health needs as to physical health needs.

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