Wednesday, April 17, 2024

UAE Enforces Stringent Penalties for Violation of New Mental Health Law

In a recent development, the UAE Government has issued a new Federal Law on mental health, imposing a variety of penalties for violations. The penalties include imprisonment and fines ranging from Dh50,000 to Dh200,000. Aligned with contemporary mental healthcare practices, the law is designed to protect the rights of psychiatric patients, ensuring they receive optimal physical and mental care. This legislative move underscores the UAE’s commitment to promoting mental health and enhancing the well-being of its residents.

UAE Enforces Stringent Penalties for Violation of New Mental Health Law

New Mental Health Law in UAE Sets High Standards and Protections

The recently enacted legislation in the UAE governs interactions involving psychiatric patients and relevant parties, emphasizing elevated standards and practices. The law aims to achieve several objectives, including the preservation of patient rights and dignity, the reduction of the negative impact of mental conditions on individuals and society, and the promotion of social integration.

Applicable across all aspects of mental health, the law encompasses psychiatric patients, mental health facilities, and related institutions throughout the country, including those situated in free zones. Notably, it updates the definitions of mental health and psychiatric patients to align with contemporary concepts and understanding. This legislative initiative underscores the UAE’s commitment to fostering a comprehensive and modern approach to mental health care.

Comprehensive Mental Health Law in UAE Prioritizes Patient Rights and Modern Practices

Prohibiting the provision of mental health services without proper authorization, the new mental health law in the UAE places a strong emphasis on patient rights. These rights encompass receiving a detailed explanation of their rights, the ability to submit grievances, and the entitlement to care within an environment that respects civil rights.

Patient rights, as outlined in the law, are extensive, covering job retention without restrictions, protection from exploitation, confidentiality of information, and safeguarding personal belongings. Post-discharge care plans, access to education and recreational activities, and the option to choose advocates both within and beyond the facility are also addressed.

The law guarantees patients’ access to psychotherapy and psychiatric medications, providing detailed explanations of treatment plans, goals, risks, benefits, and potential side effects. Special health guarantees are established for minor psychiatric patients, ensuring education rights, preparation by a social worker or psychologist, and separate accommodation from adults.

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To oversee patient rights, each emirate will establish a monitoring committee responsible for receiving reports from mental health establishments, supervising facilities, and addressing complaints. Emirate-specific patients’ rights committees will handle complaints, taking necessary actions to resolve them.

The law meticulously defines various aspects, including types of admission to mental healthcare facilities, regulations for voluntary admission for substance or psychotropic substance treatment, procedures for patient escape or death within the facility, cases of psychological restraint, isolation, patient transfer within and outside the country, and circumstances for compulsory outpatient treatment.

In summary, the UAE’s new mental health law demonstrates a commitment to prioritizing patient rights, aligning with modern practices, and addressing the entirety of mental healthcare, from admission to post-discharge care. The establishment of monitoring committees aims to ensure compliance and protect the well-being and dignity of psychiatric patients across the country.

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