At the margins of human rights and psychiatric care in North America

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Commitment of Mentally Ill; Health Services Accessibility; *Human Rights; Humans; North America; *Patient Advocacy; Psychiatry


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


The roots and expanse of the rights of psychiatric patients in North America are broad and diverse. This paper focuses on four rights that are pushing at the contemporary margins of patients' rights. First, the right to treatment, a moral position casting about for legal grounding. Second, the rights of psychiatrically hospitalized patients, articulated in statutes, court decisions, organizational standards and patients' bills of right. Third, patient participation in treatment planning, a process involving both rights and responsibilities. Fourth, the right to involuntary outpatient treatment, a process sometimes viewed as a deprivation of and other times as an expansion of rights for patients. These rights are addressed in the context of the question, are we going in the proper direction?

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Citation: Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 2000;399:87-92.

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