Ethical and Professional Challenges in Mental Health Care in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
International review of psychiatry (Abingdon, England) 2010; 22(3): 245-51
Mental health practitioners in low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs) face particular ethical and professional challenges in their day-to-day clinical practice. A systematic review of the published literature from all LAMICs identified 42 relevant articles. The majority of papers dealt with violations of individual autonomy, particularly in the context of involuntary admission, use of electro-convulsive therapy and the lack of information given to patients about prescribed psychotropic medications. However, the appropriateness of this focus on individual autonomy was challenged in settings where values emphasizing the interconnectedness of communities prevail and the family shoulder the burden for most mental health care. When access to the least restrictive, culturally relevant, evidence-based care is limited to the privileged few, caregivers may be forced to over-ride the individual autonomy of the patient in order to ensure receipt of effective treatment or protection of others. Enactment of modern mental health legislation in all LAMICs remains an essential goal to protect the rights of the mentally ill. In parallel with this, supporting calls for the scaling up of mental health care will do more to ensure the right to mental health care and ensure actual implementation of international ethical frameworks.
Autonomy; Caregivers; Health; Health Care; Legislation; Literature; Mental Health; Patients; Review; Rights; Values; Codes of / Position Statements on Professional Ethics; Neurosciences and Mental Health Therapies; Electrical Stimulation of the Brain; International and Political Dimensions of Biology and Medicine;
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