Mental Health


Student Number:
March 2013

Question one
Describe the influences on the historical development of mental health law and policy.

Answer one
Mentally ill people have been discriminated against and not given care when they are unable to reach out for help themselves. Mental health law was enacted in order to provide help for those who could not help themselves.

Part of history  
English asylum in the eighteenth century were small and they were not run by the state. The best known and the largest was Dedlam or Bethlem in the city of London. This had 130 patients in 1704. There was a growing number of private madhouses   - Probably about 40 in 1800. After 1774 private madhouse had to have a license and it is from yhe surviving license records that we can estimate how many there were. Charitable asylum were opened in the eighteenth century in eight English towns.

mental health history   timeline

David Irish’s madhouse near Guildford, Surrey, claimed to cure by food and comfort, and would care for those who were not curable for life, if paid Quarterly.  

“allowing them good   fires, meat, and drink, with good attendance, and all necessaries far beyond what is allowed at Bedlam, or any other place that he has yet heard of and cheaper, for he allows the melancholy, mad, and such whose consciences are oppressed with a sense of sin, good meat everyday for dinner, and also wholesome diet for breakfast and supper, and good table beer enough at any time.”

Irish, D. 1700 pp 53-4. Hunter and Macaipine 1963 p.279...

Question two
Describe and critically evaluate trends in current law and policy.

Answer two
Mental health legislation is largely used in the management of psychiatric disorders, such as psychosis or dementia, and developmental disabilities, where a person does not possess the ability to act in a legally competent manner and requires treatment and/or another person to act in...