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According to the Mental Health Act, once a person has been detained at a mental health facility and is committed to a 72-hour evaluation, the facility must either release the person or take another action, such as admitting the person under a continuation order. (Waddell et al., 2005). This Mental Health Act needs to be changed in order to extend the evaluation period from the currently required 72 hours to 30 days. Given that it is likely to address one of the main problems that many Canadians with mental health conditions face, this is a crucial move. (Kates et al., 1997). A 72-hour assessment seems insufficient in evaluating and preventing these patients from their mental health and addiction issues which have been largely blamed for deaths as a result of cold weather on the streets as well as police shootings (World Health Organization, 2003). The lack of proper evaluation is also a key contributor to other bad behaviours such as disappearance from work, school, and loss of social connections (WHO, 2001). For this reason, the Canadian government needs to change the mental health system by giving a more thoughtful update to the Mental Health Act. This needs to involve not only increasing the assessment from 72 hours to 30 days but also taking into account a broad range of stakeholders encompassing individuals with prior experiences as well as the patients’ families (Beiser, Gill & Edwards, 1993). Additionally, there should be solutions to the gaps in human rights as well as equitable access to health and healthcare for all the mental health patients ((World Health Organization, 2001). In conclusion, mental illness has a tremendous effect on the social, health and economic sectors of the society and, therefore, there is a need to amend the Act to take into consideration an increase the assessment time from 72 hours to 30 days.
Beiser, M., Gill, K., & Edwards, R. G. (1993). Mental health care in Canada: Is it accessible and equal?. Canada's Mental Health.
Kates, N., Craven, M., Bishop, J., Clinton, T., Kraftcheck, D., LeClair, K., ... & Turner, T. (1997). Shared mental health care in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 42(8), i-xii.
Waddell, C., Lavis, J. N., Abelson, J., Lomas, J., Shepherd, C. A., Bird-Gayson, T., ... & Offord, D. R. D. (2005). Research use in children's mental health policy in Canada: Maintaining vigilance amid ambiguity. Social science & medicine, 61(8), 1649-1657.
World Health Organization. (2001). The World Health Report 2001: Mental health: new understanding, new hope. World Health Organization.
World Health Organization. (2003). Investing in mental health.
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