Laws and debates

Mind informs debate and legislation in the UK Parliament that affects people with mental health problems. We send briefings to MPs and Peers, meet politicians to improve awareness of mental health in Parliament and campaign to improve policies.

Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act

We’ve been campaigning to reduce the use of restraint since 2011 and this has led to national guidance and commitments to reduce its use. But while there are lots of examples of good practice, in some areas people with mental health problems are still subject to restraint on a daily basis. 

That’s why we supported the introduction of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill. This Private Members Bill, sponsored by Steve Reed MP, aimed to reduce the use of force specifically in mental health hospitals. Steve Reed introduced the Bill following the sad death of one of his constituents, Seni Lewis, who died after being restrained in a mental health hospital.

We campaigned to encourage MPs to support ‘Seni’s Law’ in Parliament and campaigned for amendments to improve the Bill. The Bill secured Royal Assent at the end of 2018 and is expected to come into force in Spring 2020. It will mean:

  • Better training for staff to manage difficult situations.
  • Better data, improving transparency and highlighting problem areas.
  • Police will need to wear body cameras when called to mental health settings, which can be used in evidence.

Changes to Personal Independence Payment

The recent changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people with mental health problems are due to be debated in the House of Lords on 27th March 2017.

Read Mind's parliamentary briefing for Lords.

Read Mind's parliamentary briefing for MPs.

The Government has implemented changes to PIP, which is awarded to cover the extra costs that disabled people face. These changes will affect over 160,000 people with mental health problems – both in and out of work – who have extra costs related to their disability.

The Government argues that they are simply restoring the original intention of PIP following a court ruling which changed the scope of the benefit. We are extremely concerned that these changes to PIP create a distinction between mental health and other conditions where the primary legislation was intended to apply to anyone with a disability or health condition. We are campaigning for these changes to be withdrawn.

Policing and Crime Bill

The Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16 has its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Monday 7th March. This is important legislation for people with mental health problems, as the Bill makes changes to the Mental Health Act 1983.

The Mental Health Act 1983 is one of the few pieces of legislation that allows people to be deprived of their liberty when they have not committed, or are not suspected of having committed, a crime. Sections 135 and 136 are used for the purposes of completing a mental health assessment, to determine whether a person meets the criteria to be sectioned.

Watch Mike Penning MP, the Minister for Policing, commit to reduce the use of police cells for people with mental health problems: 

Read Mind's latest briefing.

Primary Care

Around one third of all GP appointments involve mental health. We want everyone who visits their GP practice to get the support they need. But we know that many of your constituents are not getting the right support for their mental health in primary care.

Our new campaign is to make sure that all GP practices are able to provide quality mental health support. Over the next few years we’ll be campaigning for:

  • local commissioners to improve the mental health support provided through primary care
  • improved mental health training for GPs and other primary care staff
  • better mental health and wellbeing support for all primary care staff

We want to campaign with all MPs to improve the mental health care that your constituents receive in your local GP practices. That’s what our new campaign is all about, and we invite you to join us to improve local services.

The Mental Health Taskforce

For too long, people with mental health problems have had to put up with second-rate, second-class services. This has affected lives and it has cost lives.

The Mental Health Taskforce, an independent group of experts chaired by Mind's CEO Paul Farmer, has produced a report and recommendations that will transform mental health care over the next five years. Now it's down to Government, the NHS and other organisations to get the job done.

Read our briefing for MPs on the Mental Health Taskforce.

The Welfare Reform and Work Bill

When people are out of work because of their mental health, they need to be supported and understood by the benefits system. Where appropriate, people should be directed towards effective back-to-work schemes. This Bill would reduce the amount of financial support new claimants (from April 2017) who have been found to have ‘limited capability for work’ receive – both on Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

We are campaigning against these sections of the Bill because we think it will have the unintended consequences of making people’s mental health problems worse, and pushing people further from work. We encourage all MPs to look at the potential impact this reduction in benefit on people who have been found not fit for work. The Bill returns to the Commons on 23rd February 2016, please vote to stop this cut in benefit for people who are too unwell to work.

Read our briefing on the Bill.

Read our briefing for the Backbench Business Debate on reductions to ESA and Universal Credit - November 2016 

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