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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Mental Health Law introduced

28 September 2018

​The new Mental Health Law comes into force on Monday, 1 October. The new law reflects more than 50 years of developments in mental health practice, both in Jersey and in the UK, and represents a significant reform to health and social care legislation.

The law is underpinned by five guiding principles:

  • 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 and physical health needs

Health Minister, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “The balance between keeping people safe from harm while ensuring they can take responsibility for their own decisions is complex and will continue to present a challenge to services.

“The provision of a statutory independent advocacy service will help ensure that those who are most vulnerable, and at risk of not being heard, have more opportunity to make their needs, views and wishes known.”

The new law reflects developments in treatment and encompasses a number of changes, including:

  • better protection for the human rights of people detained under the law
  • access to Independent Mental Health Advocates
  • the Courts to determine whether or not a person is capable of participating in a criminal trial
  • higher standards of care and better decision making on the treatment of those suffering from a mental disorder
  • specific treatments can only be provided either with a person’s consent or with the agreement of a second opinion
  • new offences relating to wilful neglect and abuse.

The Code of Practice which accompanies the law has been devised following extensive consultation with service users, carers, professionals and other stakeholders. The resulting document reflects the needs and expectations of those who are most affected by the provision of mental health services in Jersey.

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