A literature review carried out by the University of Otago into perspectives on compulsory treatment, with a focus on the people who are subjected to compulsion and a focus on tāngata whaiora (people with lived experience of mental distress), has found there is little research in Aotearoa and globally that puts their story at the center.
The resulting report, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation with funding from the former Like Minds Like Mine mental health programme, found there is almost no research about the experience of compulsory treatment in Aotearoa let alone indigenous/Māori led studies. This is a significant finding, and the report calls for those affected the most to lead future research on the subject and to have their voices heard in the upcoming reform of the Mental Health Act.
The report is a useful starting point for anyone wanting to understand the concerns about compulsory treatment from the perspective of tāngata whaiora and engage in the development of a new transformational mental health law as an ally. It discusses the high rates of compulsory treatment in Aotearoa, the extreme disparities in its use, and the lack of evidence about the effectiveness of community treatment orders. It also includes insights into what some lived experience groups think about compulsory treatment from the submissions they made to the government public consultation in 2022 on the new mental health law.