Friday, May 04, 2007

The danger of dangerousness

Regular readers of this blog already know that Australia has been publishing very interesting work on mental health and treatment. And now, a Sydney psychiatrist is making a powerful argument that dangerousness standards delay necessary treatment by as much as six months.

Dr Olav Nielssen, a psychiatrist at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, found that the length of untreated psychosis was 25 weeks longer on average in countries that utilize dangerousness standards rather than “need for treatment” based standards for admission to mental health care. “That is staggering,” he said, “and not surprising really because you can't get treatment until you're dangerous, which means you've hurt or killed someone or at least threaten to. This 'dangerousness' criteria means delayed treatment and that need to be changed to save lives.”

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