The Act is not set up to respect people’s wishes or support people’s own decision-making about health care; it does not reflect the values of autonomy, choice and equality that underpin how we regard people with disabilities, including people with mental health problems.
There are many ways in which we think the Mental Health Act can be improved, and this is also a good opportunity to step back and ask what rights and protections we want from the law. If there were no Mental Health Act, what would we want instead?
We also believe that we can’t look at the Act in isolation, without also addressing underlying failures in mental health services that see people ending up in crisis.
We’ve done a lot of thinking about the Act but want to be sure that what we say to the Review reflects what people most want to see happen. That’s why we’ll be working over the next few months to learn from people’s views and experiences and work on solutions together – looking for answers to the big questions such as “Should the state be able to give treatment to a person against their wishes? And if so, when?”