J Korean Med Assoc.  2017 Sep;60(9):710-712. 10.5124/jkma.2017.60.9.710.

Need for the complete revision of the Mental Health and Welfare Act

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kwonjs@snu.ac.kr


Involuntary treatment or compulsory admission to mental health facilities has long been a controversial issue in the field of mental health, because these practices infringe on the right to choose of a person with a mental disability and increase the risk of abuse for several reasons, not only limited to medical factors. Although the current Mental Health and Welfare Act took effect on May 30, 2017 in Korea, considerable controversy about the content of the regulation and the practical applicability of the law has emerged among mental health professionals. The earlier treatment of patients would become difficult due to the strict criteria for involuntary admissions, and the unrealistic procedures for admissions in the Act might be hard to apply in the field. Thus, a complete revision of the current Mental and Welfare Act is needed in the near future to protect the benefits of early treatment and the human rights of persons with mental illnesses in terms of how laws regarding admissions are enforced.


Mental Health and Welfare Act; Involuntary admission; Human rights; Revision; Law enforcement admission
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