Past Issues

The Legal Criteria and Trend of Compulsory Psychiatric Admission: A Mini-review and Implications for Taiwan

Ting-Wen Hsiao, Kevin Chien-Chang Wu

The stipulations and practices of mental health law have been various globally. But human rights protection is the trend. Haunting Taiwan, recent episodes of indiscriminate killing have regenerated the debate on broadening practices of compulsory psychiatric admission. Now is the best timing to examine the legal criteria and trend of compulsory psychiatric admission around the world and its implication for Taiwan. Using keywords, we retrieved literature addressing criteria and trend of compulsory psychiatric admission in different countries from digital literature databanks. From the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare, the authors also retrieved the annual numbers of compulsory psychiatric admission and the psychiatric admission covered by national health insurance (NHI) in 2005-2014. Rates of compulsory admission over NHI admission per year were calculated to observe the trend. Contrary to the U.S., in East Asian countries including Taiwan, decisions on compulsory psychiatric admissions are not made through court procedures. However, adopting soft paternalism, the 2007 Taiwan Mental Health Act ranks high in human rights protection. Furthermore, the numbers and rates of compulsory psychiatric admission had decreased by five times from 2005 to 2014. In contrast to many Western countries, Taiwan has had a recent decreasing trend of compulsory psychiatric admission which might be induced by its 2007 legislation reform. The 2007 Taiwan Mental Health Act has served the purpose of human rights protection well when compared to its counterparts of other countries. In the future, it is important, to explore whether there are significant hidden coercion practices in voluntary admission in Taiwan.
Key Word mental health act, compulsory psychiatric admission, human rights, mental capacity, Trend
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