Challenge to discriminatory mental health law
Posted Thursday 17 November 2011
Lord Dennis Stevenson and Charles Walker MP, supported by Mind, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Rethink Mental Illness, are working on a Bill to repeal four pieces of legislation that discriminate against people with mental health problems.
The Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill, which will debated in the House of Lords on Friday 25 November, aims to:
- Repeal section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983, under which a Member of the House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland Assembly automatically loses their seat if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months;
- Amend the Juries Act 1974 to overturn the blanket ban on “mentally disordered persons” undertaking jury service;
- Amend the Companies (Model Articles) Regulations 2008 which states that a person might cease to be a director of a public or private company “by reason of their mental health”;
- Amend the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2007 so that individuals detained under the Mental Health Act are no longer prevented being school governors.
These four pieces of legislation feed into the discriminatory and outdated notion that people with mental health problems can never recover, and cannot be trusted to participate in social, political or economic life.
These provisions would never be tolerated if they were directed at people with physical health problems, and nor should they be tolerated in these circumstances.
How you can help
Send the Peers taking part a message of support (check back regularly as it is updated daily):
- write to Peers name, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW, or
- telephone 0207 219 5353.