A bill that expands the grounds for forced hospitalization in psychiatric clinics has been put forward in the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.
According to Zaks.ru, the document was drafted by a group of members of the S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy and legal experts.
At present, persons suffering from psychiatric disorders can be forcibly hospitalized without a court order if they pose a threat to themselves or those around them.
The authors of the bill consider the term “those around them” to be insufficiently specific, and propose to amend the wording as follows: “hospitalization is required if the person is dangerous to themselves and the interests of persons, societies or state that are safeguarded by law”.
At the same time, they propose to amend the law “On police” so that police will be authorized to enter a person’s residence or other facilities in order to assist with the involuntary hospitalization.
The authors also propose that medical psychologists be given the right to submit applications for psychiatric examinations. At present, this can only be done by relatives, doctors and officials.
The bill has been criticized by members of the Just Russia party.
The communist Alexander Rassudov said that the proposed initiative reminds him of the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, in which the protagonist is lobotomized for fighting against the system.
“When I see the term ‘state interests’, everything becomes clear immediately. There is a good saying: When it is expedient to the state, it calls itself the Motherland. It seems to me that this is an extremely dangerous trend,” Rassudov observed.
“I would not like it if, like in not too distant times, the mentally ill and the political prisoner were conflated. It is shameful that such a bill would originate from such a major and significant region as St. Petersburg,” commented legislative committee member Alexander Egorov.
The objections have not been able to stop the bill completely. The deputies have agreed to postpone its consideration and to create a work group that will include healthcare committee members and expert healthcare professionals.