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APA's Model Commitment Law and the Need for Better Mental Health Services
Jack Zusman
Psychiatric Services 1985; doi:
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The University of South Florida, Florida Mental Health Institute, 13301 North 30th Street, Tampa, Florida 33612

1985 American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The author commends the American Psychiatric Association's model law on civil commitment as a practical document that is symbolic of psychiatry's concern about the quality of public mental health services. However, he believes that even the most progressive mental health laws have done little to ensure better or more responsive delivery of psychiatric services. Their effectiveness has been hampered by states' failure to provide funds for adequate services, lax interpretation and application of their provisions, and increasingly bureaucratic procedures resulting in impersonal treatment of patients. The author would strengthen the model law's section on patient advocacy, giving greater autonomy to advocates, and would extend legal authority for commitment to psychologists meeting specific qualifications.

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