Human rights and mental health services

 

Sir, – Prof Brendan Kelly (Letters, February 26th) rightly asserts that mental health service users and their families should be at the heart of change and reform, and that care should protect and promote human rights. But often what is missing in recent debate regarding reform of our mental health legislation and health services is a discussion of what we mean by protecting human rights.

It is not just about ensuring that people’s wishes and preference are respected, but must surely be balanced with the right to be mentally well.

As a mental health social worker, I can witness to the reality that many persons with a severe and enduring mental illness can lack insight as to the consequences of not accepting treatment and this can result in a gradual deterioration of their mental health with drastic consequences both for their quality of life and their families and neighbours. – Yours, etc,

FRANK BROWNE,

Templeogue, Dublin 16.