Emerging legal developments may threaten patients’ access to the involuntary treatment that some patients need. This includes describing the challenge to the BC Mental Health Act made under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the most recent Ombudsperson’s Report that recommends more legal input to help patients get discharged against medical advice, and the UN treaty that bans all involuntary admissions and treatment, and bans the use of “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.” 

The B.C. Schizophrenia Society focused on issues related to the psychiatric inpatient experience—along with the potential legal barriers to treatment—at its October 2019 annual general meeting. A panel discussion called “Inpatient Care for People with Serious Mental Illness: Current Issues” included speakers addressing the shortage of psychiatric beds, potential legal barriers to treatment, a parent’s perspective on the inpatient experience, and ways to reduce the need for inpatient care.

John E. Gray, Ph.D., is a B.C. Schizophrenia Society board member and past president of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. He is a psychologist by training and was the lead author of Canadian Mental Health Law and Policy (LexisNexis Canada, 2008). He spoke at the October 6th, 2019 annual meeting of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society in Vancouver. Dr. Gray addressed the topic, “Potential legal barriers to treatment.”

Listen to audio from John Gray’s presentation (as later broadcast on People First Radio). Watch the presentation (with accompanying slides) on the B.C. Schizophrenia Society’s YouTube channel.

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