16 Harv. J. on Legis. 19 (1979)
Mental Health Legislation and its Relationship to Program Development: An International Review

handle is hein.journals/hjl16 and id is 27 raw text is: MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION
AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO
PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT:
AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW
TIMOTHY W. HARDING-
WILLIAM J. CURRAN
In its effort to improve the delivery of mental health services around the
world, the World Health Organization recently conducted an extensive survey
of the laws affecting mental health in WHO countries. Drs. Harding and Cur-
ran, the principal coordinators of the survey, provide a summary of the
survey's findings, outlining the salient conclusions of the WHO report. They
conclude by offering recommendations for establishing a comprehensive legal
framework for mental health programs in both developing and developed coun-
tries.
Introduction
In 1954 the World Health Organization (WHO) completed the
first international comparative review of mental health legisla-
tion.1 In that same year, its Expert Committee on Mental
Health published a series of recommendations for the improve-
ment of mental health laws.2 By the mid-1970s, these two
documents, important international reference points for over
two decades, no longer reflected the current state of knowledge
due to developments in the intervening years both in legislation
and in the organization of national mental health programs.3
* B.S., London University, 1966; D.P.M., Edinburgh University, 1971; R.C.P., 1972;
Senior Medical Officer, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
** J.D., Boston College, 1950; LL.M., Harvard Law School, 1951; S.M.Hyg., Har-
vard School of Public Health, 1958; Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Legal Medicine,
Harvard Medical School; Health Legislation Consultant, World Health Organization,
Geneva, Switzerland.
1 Hospitalization of Mental Patients, 6 INT'L DIG. OF HEALTH LEGIS. 3 (1955).
2 WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION EXPERT CoMM. ON MENTAL HEALTH, TECHNICAL REP.
SERIES No. 98, LEGISLATION AFFECTING PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT: FOURTH REPORT
(1955).
3 Curran & Harding, The Law and Mental Health: Harmonizing Objectives, 28 INT'L
DIG. OF HEALTH LEGIS. 725, 730, 738-42 (1977) [hereinafter cited as Law and Mental
Health].

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