China poised to outlaw compulsory mental health check ups

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) — The draft Mental Health Law of China states that mental health examinations must be done at the discretion of the patient or their guardian.

The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council on Friday published the full text of the draft Mental Health Law on its official website to seek public feedback.

According to the draft law, mental disease diagnosis should be conducted on a voluntary basis.

The draft also states that it is the responsibility of civil affairs authorities to send homeless people suspected of suffering mental disorders to mental health institutions.

Mental health patients can be discharged from hospitals at any time at their discretion, the draft states. For severely-ill patients, their guardian can get them discharged from hospital.

If doctors consider a patient’s discharge from hospital as inappropriate, he should inform the patient or their guardian about the matter, and record the notification details and provide technical advice if a patients, or their guardian insists on them being discharged.

The draft law provides the rights of mental health patients, including the right to education, work, medical insurance, privacy and social assistance.

Statistics released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2009 showed that over 100 million people affected by mental illness, with 16 million listed as severely ill, in China.

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