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Over 50 campaigners ask the UK government: “Where’s Billy?”

Tuesday, 17 October 2023 Mind

Today (Tuesday 17 October), mental health charity Mind brought together more than 50 people - and 2 dogs - to call on the UK government to pass the draft Mental Health Bill into law. The participants filled Parliament Square dressed in stripey shirts, bobble hats and glasses to ask Rishi Sunak “Where’s Billy?”

Campaigners dressed up in stripey shirts and blue bobble hats (looking like Where's Wally?). They're in front of the houses of parliament and holding a banner that says 'where's billy? pass the mental health bill now!'

The Mental Health Act 1983 is the main piece of law under which people can be 'sectioned'. Plans to update the 40-year-old legislation were a Conservative manifesto commitment in 2019.

The Mental Health Bill has already been through pre-legislative scrutiny. However it has not yet been passed into law, and the upcoming King’s Speech is the last chance before the forthcoming general election.

Gemma Byrne, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said:

"Currently, thousands of people in mental health hospitals are being let down when they're at their most unwell because the Mental Health Act is outdated.

"People's voices are unheard, they don't have the rights they need, and there are huge racial disparities. The UK government promised to introduce a Bill to change that, but it's not materialised.

"Nearly 35,000 people have signed our petition calling on the UK government to reform the Mental Health Act before the next election.

"Every day we wait for reform people are let down by a law that is outdated and no longer fit for purpose."

Campaigners in stripey shirts and blue bobble hats outside parliament. They are looking around as though searching for something.

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