Politics Therapies — 23 October 2013

A new Mental Health Bill to be introduced to Parliament today will provide stricter controls on the use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), formerly referred to as electro-shock treatment.

It is hoped the new bill will give family and carers a greater say on the treatment of their loved ones. 207412-3x2-340x227

The Mental Health Minister, Helen Morton, says the legislation will provide stricter controls on the use of ECT.

Existing laws do not restrict the use of ECT on children but under the bill, its use would be banned on those aged under 14.

Children under the age of 18 would also require adult consent before undertaking treatment.

Under the draft bill released in 2011, a psychiatrist could give a child the power to consent to a number of treatments including psychosurgery, electric shock therapy and sterilisation without the consent of their parents.

More than one thousand submissions were received after the release of the draft and Mrs Morton said there was significant public debate about ECT.

However, she said medical evidence persuaded her that some people would be denied the likelihood of recovery if it were banned altogether.

A new Mental Health Tribunal would also oversee its administration.

The Government also abandoned a proposal to give the Chief Psychiatrist greater power to approve sterilisation for involuntary patients.

This article first appeared on ABC Online on 23 October, 2013.


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(1) Reader Comment

  1. I had no idea ECT is given to people under 18. Is it meant to be all ok now that it won’t be allowed in those under 14 anymore? So those aged between 14 and 18 are at their parents mercy? I don’t know what to believe in these reports. I’m just glad, and probably lucky this never happened to me at this age

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