Mental health laws are meant to ensure that in the case where individuals suffering from mental issues affecting their learning and personal well-being are affected by problems affecting their health, necessary action is taken to ensure they get the proper treatment and care. The care and treatment are to focus on their safety, health, and well-being. In the United States, many health laws are concerned with the mental health of the people. These are categorized within the federal government as well as individually in the state laws that are practiced in each state independently (Schulze, 2016). This paper is aimed at identifying the mental health laws that exist in the United States with the aim of understanding the laws as they apply and concern nursing.
Mental health laws have been considered by many to be as old as law. Indeed, the earliest classification of mental law found in the English law book dates back as far as 1324. This law gave the king the authority to own persons and property in the case they were deemed to have mental issues. Indeed, mental health laws have gone through a metamorphosis over time. As seen, in the past, insanity was treated with contempt. However, there have been significant changes in mental health laws over the years that have seen more care given to people considered mentally unstable. Indeed, as these changes in the laws continued to metamorphosis with the creation of mental institutions and asylums, there was a need for care which involved the nursing fraternity, hence the importance of discussing the subject (Schulze, 2016).
In America particularly, mental health is taken seriously with partnerships between the federal government and the states on the matter. The federal government is involved in ensuring individuals with mental disorders are protected whether at school, at work, or during treatment. Legislations that protect these people are found in; the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), American with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Service Act among many other laws (Schulze, 2016). These are common in all the states.
Together with the above regulations, the states also have implemented their independent laws that safeguard the mentally unstable individuals among their midst. As such, these laws might appear different from one another and could even be different in different counties within the same state. The state laws are given freedom to go beyond expectations, but they must at least meet particular standards set by the national/central government. State laws focus on the implementation of mental health plans within their boundaries as well as the provision of guidance as to what is and is not legal. They focus on involuntary treatment and ensure that the rights of the mentally affected people are well taken care of. Furthermore, they are involved in funding mental health services across the states (Schulze, 2016).
In conclusion, mental health laws not only concern the insane but also concern of each and every individual who is affected by a mental issue at one point or the other. The mental health laws are there to ensure that one gets the best help which does not infringe on his/her rights as an individual. The federal and state governments work together to ensure that mental health laws are followed to the latter. The nursing fraternity plays a critical role in ensuring that these rights and laws are protected.
Schulze, M. (2016). Human rights principles in developing and updating policies and laws on mental health. Global Mental Health, 3.
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