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Foundation Welcomes Call For Tighter ECT Control

MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION OF NEW ZEALAND
MEDIA RELEASE
28 November 2007

Mental Health Foundation Welcomes Call For Tighter ECT Control


The Mental Health Foundation welcomes the call from Parliament’s Health Select Committee to tighten restrictions for the use of electronic-convulsive therapy (ECT).

Judi Clements, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation says; “This is a positive step towards seeing the use of ECT being restricted. ECT should only be used in extreme cases when all other treatment options have been ruled out, or when there is informed consent by the patient.

“ECT should never be given to children or to patients who do not give consent. It should not be assumed that if someone is subject to the Mental Health Act that they have lost their capacity to make informed decisions and therefore the ability to give their consent.

“The Mental Health Foundation wholly supports the idea of an advance directive as it would act as a safeguard for people to make choices about what type of future treatment they would or would not agree to, if they lost the capacity to make decisions.”

Like other compulsory treatment orders, ECT can inflict long-term damaging effects to a person’s health, including memory loss. Judi Clements adds; “More needs to be done to ensure that mental health services can reach people earlier to prevent circumstances from escalating to the point of ECT being administered.

“A wide range of treatment options are available including medication, talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and self help options. Awareness and availability of such options needs to be increased to ensure that people not only know what is available to them, but to ensure that they can easily access such treatments when they need them."

ENDS

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