KIE Research Associate Publishes Article on Emergency Involuntary Treatment Law for those with Mental Disorders

Marisha Wickremsinhe, KIE research associate and digital campaign coordinator, published an article in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. The paper, titled Emergency involuntary treatment law for people with mental disorders: A comparative analysis of legislation in LMICs, compares legislation for emergency involuntary treatment of individuals with mental disorders in low and middle income countries.

An excerpt from the article:

Mental health legislation is a requirement for the protection and promotion of the rights of people with mental disorders, both in order to ensure individuals’ access to healthcare and to address stigma and discrimination (World Health Organization, 2003a). However, the mere existence of mental health legislation is not sufficient to guarantee these rights (World Health Organization, 2003b). In some contexts, existing mental health legislation may even violate the rights of people with mental disorders, e.g. by removing legal capacity of the person living with mental disorder and permitting another individual to make not only their treatment decisions, but also decisions on “other aspects of their daily lives” (Drew et al., 2011; World Health Organization, 2003b). Largely due to conflict between positive and negative rights, i.e. the right to treatment versus the right to autonomy (Fennell, 1999; Freeman et al., 2015), enshrining the human rights of people with mental disorders into law remains a controversial debate.

At the KIE, Wickremsinhe works on two major projects focused on maternal health: one targeting research on maternal-fetal health in the context of HIV/AIDS, another looking at ethical ways to gather information on treating illness during pregnancy in emerging public health crises like the Zika virus.

Wickremsinhe is a 2014 alumna of Georgetown, where she studied International Health in the school of Nursing and Health Studies and wrote a thesis on the lack of development assistance for global mental health. She is also a 2015 alumna of Ethics Lab, where she served as a studio fellow. In 2016, she completed an MSc in Global Mental Health, co-taught by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King’s College London.

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