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Subjective experiences of compulsory treatment from a qualitative study of early implementation of the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

Authors
  • Ridley, Julie
  • Hunter, Susan
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health & Social Care in the Community
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2013
Volume
21
Issue
5
Pages
509–518
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/hsc.12041
PMID: 23551766
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Compulsory psychiatric treatment is highly contested, and little research has focused specifically on direct experiences. The Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act, 2003 introduced new roles and provisions including community treatment orders, and was designed to increase participation, ensure treatment was beneficial and was the 'least restrictive' alternative. This article draws on findings from semi-structured interviews with 49 individuals, who had experienced compulsion under this new legislation during 2007-2008, that were part of a broader cohort study. Interviews with service users were conducted at two stages with 80% agreeing to be interviewed twice. The sample included people on a variety of compulsory orders from four Health Board areas, some of whom had been detained for the first time, while others reported 'revolving door' experiences. Peer researchers who were mental health service users carried out the interviews in partnership with professional researchers. The findings suggest that legislation had a limited impact on participation in the process of compulsion. Consensus was that although service users felt there was increased opportunity for their voices to be heard, this was not matched by having increased influence over professional decision-making, especially in relation to drug treatments. According to people's direct experiences, the passing of the legislation in itself had done little to change the dominant psychiatric paradigm. While providing a foundation for improving the process of compulsion, the findings suggest that as well as legislative reform, fundamental shifts in practice are needed both in terms of the nature of therapeutic relationships, and in embracing more holistic and recovery perspectives.

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