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Digital solutions and interventions for mental health have increasingly been taking place in many societies in the last several decades. There are significant differences among countries due to economical and organizational situations. On the other hand, despite digital gap, there is a significant increase in the use of telepsychiatry and e-mental health applications with the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the world. Experiences of this pandemic times make many opportunities and challenges more apparent in this field. Safety and security, legislation, regulations, good practice standards, evidence based data, ethics and education are several of main areas of needs. EPA with the Council of National Psychiatric Associations (NPAs) is one of the crucial organizations in Europe which may play an important role to work on these challenges and opportunities. EPA-Council of NPAs consists of 44 associations represent psychiatrists (and other mental health workers in some) from 40 European countries. NPAs are crucial organisations in contact with local and national mental health stakeholders; competent in national, local, authentic and cultural issues and sensitivities; and could serve as crucial junctions for Europewide policies and their widespread implementations. Some reflections on challenges and opportunities from the Council of NPAs will be presented, based on a rapid survey and personal communications with presidents and official representatives of NPAs for future perspectives.
Compulsory admission procedures of patients with mental disorders vary between countries in Europe. The Ethics Committee of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) launched a survey on involuntary admission procedures of patients with mental disorders in 40 countries to gather information from all National Psychiatric Associations that are members of the EPA to develop recommendations for improving involuntary admission processes and promote voluntary care.
The survey focused on legislation of involuntary admissions and key actors involved in the admission procedure as well as most common reasons for involuntary admissions.
We analyzed the survey categorical data in themes, which highlight that both medical and legal actors are involved in involuntary admission procedures.
We conclude that legal reasons for compulsory admission should be reworded in order to remove stigmatization of the patient, that raising awareness about involuntary admission procedures and patient rights with both patients and family advocacy groups is paramount, that communication about procedures should be widely available in lay-language for the general population, and that training sessions and guidance should be available for legal and medical practitioners. Finally, people working in the field need to be constantly aware about the ethical challenges surrounding compulsory admissions.
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