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Does Severe Mental Illness Warrant a lock-Up?

by Savitha C Muppala on September 29, 2006 at 4:46 PM
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Does Severe Mental Illness Warrant a lock-Up?

It is becoming apparent that people suffering a severe personality disorder are posing a big threat to public protection. Mental Health Services are putting their best foot forward to find an answer to this burning problem.

The 1959 Mental Health Act has indicated that chronically ill patients are advised prolonged stay in Mental Healthcare Hospitals, if their illness poses a potential risk, both to themselves and to others. Further, their detention in the hospitals is mandated only if the treatment showed a positive sign of abating the illness or preventing a further decline in the condition.

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Studying the many cases of homicide, where innocent victims have become targets of psychopath attacks, experts are still unconvinced if a homicide could have been averted. It is estimated, that among the 600,000 people suffering chronic mental illness, about 1% are considered at risk of causing harm to society and to themselves. Further, the risk of homicide in a psychotic person is found to be about one in 15,000. This is one of the biggest challenges to Mental Health Professionals, for whom it is extremely difficult to predict such tendencies in a patient. Further, analysis of homicides has shown that the attack or murder could not have been foreseen.

Source: Medindia
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