Psychiatric treatment and civil liberties in Israel: The need for reform

U. Aviram, D. Shnit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based on research on involuntary mental hospitalization in Israel, which showed that the present law does not provide a satisfactory solution for some fundamental problems involved, reform for the mental health law and policies is suggested. The proposed reform is based on a balanced system designed to ensure the rights of the mentally ill person and, at the same time, respond effectively to the medical needs of the person. Rigid procedural barriers liable to deter care-givers from offering immediate and vital treatment and care when needed are overcome. The suggested reform entails termination of an unlimited commitment period, streamlining procedures for administration of emergency medical treatment, exposure of hospitalization to legalistic review, and developing of an advocacy system on behalf of the patients. The proposed reform makes distinction between hospitalization according to its purpose and length of time. The paper also discusses some necessary conditions which must be realized in order to assure such reform. Among these are the strengthening of the office of the district psychiatrist, assuring its independence, and developing a reliable system of reporting, control, and supervision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1984


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