China’s first “Mental Health Act” implemented today

Mental Health Act1

China’s first “Mental Health Act” which was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in October last year will be formally implemented today. The law fills the legal void of the field of mental health. “Mental Health Act” identifies the “principles of voluntary hospitalization” that will legally put an end to the “misplaced mental disorder” incidents.

In recent years, the “misplaced mental disorder” incidents had been reported for a number of times by the media, people with different degree of mental disorders had been put into involuntary hospitalization and these events had enormous controversy in the society. “Mental Health Act” clearly pointed out that, unless otherwise provided by law, no medical examination to determine whether any person is suffering from mental disorders shall be allowed; at the same time, the law sets up the “principle of voluntary hospitalization”. The medical profession and the legal profession generally believe that this “Mental Health Act” establishing the “principle of voluntary hospitalization” has been a great progress legally put an end to the controversy “misplaced mental disorder” incidents.

“Mental Health Act” states two kind of exceptions in relate to the implementation of the “principle of voluntary hospitalization”:

First, the patient shows behaviors hurting their own, or with possibility to injury himself;

Secondly, there has been acts endangering the safety of others, or may harm the safety of others in danger.

The Mental Health Act also attracted wide concern in the psychological counseling community. The law first time clearly defines in legal form that “psychologists, counselors can only provide psychological counseling services, and shall not engage in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological and psychiatric disorders, without no prescription rights.”

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