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2 December 1998




Dear Sir/Madam



I think living wills for those with mental illness is a really good idea.

I think (Living Wills) would be very helpful and help to ensure the rights of the mentally ill.

There is a need for Living Wills in the area of mental health, and they must carry weight ie. Mental Health professionals must listen to and be bound by them.

Living Wills should be made available to anyone who has a mental illness, and anyone who doesn't have a mental illness but wishes to make a Living Will in case they develop a mental illness in the future.

"Advance Directive" could be used instead (of the term "Living Will", although I think the term "Living Will" is OK.

Some sorts of decisions that could be made in advance are:-

People could say they don't want to be given ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy).

I think this is important, as in South Australia at the moment, people can be forced to have ECT against their will, and also one treatment can be given without even Guardianship Board approval.

People who are dying from cancer can say they don't want Chemotherapy /Radiotherapy, why can't people say they don't want to have ECT? Jehovahs Witnesses can say they don't want blood transfusions and their wishes will be granted even it they die, so why can't mental patients say they don't want ECT or other people who haven't got a mental illness, why can't they say they never want to be given ECT?

I think there are other things people should be able to say they don't want, like certain medications they may react to.

I think there are enormous benefits to consumers of mental health services participating in decisions that affect them. All the time in this area, decisions are made for the mentally ill without getting the consumers views on those decisions, and without the consumers permission, as well this is wrong. The mentally ill have a right to have a say in their own treatment, and this does not happen very much at all.

Living Wills would facilitate greater participation and consultation in care.

I think and individual treatment plan is a good idea, but not necessarily essential for a Living Will.

Living Wills will not necessarily be long, they may simply state the thing the consumer wants or doesn't want.

Living Wills would enable better before and after care strategies for consumers.

Living Wills would enable better discharge planning, and would encourage health professionals to do more discharge planning.

Living Wills would ensure better that needs such as maintaining employment and housing are accounted for.

Advocacy services would be better able to advocate for those who had a Living Will.

Through having a Living Will, consumers would be better able to say what they want, and their wishes would be better listened to, and acted upon.

Thank you for taking my submission into account




Sandra Miller.