UAE introduces new law on mental health to protect patients

Legislation establishes a framework to safeguard all

August 11, 2014- Provided photo of the helpline at the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children in Dubai UAE
Courtesy DFWAC
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The government has issued a new federal law on mental health, securing the rights of psychiatric patients and ensuring the provision of the best physical and mental care available.

It prohibits the delivery of mental health services without a licence, brings in age-specific safeguards to help minors and establishes monitoring committees in each emirate.

The law aims to regulate the relationship between every patient and each of the parties dealing with them while promoting social integration and reducing the emotional stress on family members.

It also redefines the terms "mental health" and "psychiatric patient" in accordance with the latest practices and concepts in the field.

Patients are now entitled to receive a full explanation of their rights within any mental health facility, as well as their right to submit grievances and complaints.

The law preserves a patient's right to retain their job without any restrictions and protects them from exploitation.

A new framework for discharging patients has been introduced while allowing provisions for medical insurance, access to education and recreational activities, and a patient’s ability to choose representatives to advocate on their behalf.

Access to psychotherapy and psychiatric medication is guaranteed, and treatment plans must be explained to the patient in full.

The monitoring committees in each emirate will be responsible for following up on patient reports, verifying standards are adhered to and addressing complaints, grievances and objections.

The patients' rights committee of each emirate will be responsible for protecting the psychiatric patient's rights, while receiving complaints from psychiatric patients and taking all necessary measures.

The law also establishes a number of regulations relating to voluntary admission for the purpose of treatment of substance abuse while outlining the obligations of the mental health establishment.

Updated: December 20, 2023, 3:58 PM