Today (4 October 2017) Theresa May announced an independent review into the Mental Health Act.
In response, Louise Rubin, Head of Policy and Campaigns, said:
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of an independent review into the Mental Health Act. Being detained under the Mental Health Act is one of the most serious things that can happen to someone when it comes to their mental health. At over thirty years old, the current legislation is outdated and not in line with the principles of modern health care.
“In the last ten years in England, we’ve seen a 47 per cent rise in the Act being used to detain people, with BAME communities disproportionately affected – this shows that neither the Act, nor wider mental health care, are currently working as they should to support people when they are unwell. Any new legislation to replace the existing Act needs to ensure people with mental health problems have more involvement in decisions about their care.
“Most importantly, overhauling the Mental Health Act needs to be done in full consultation with and led by people with lived experience. People who are at their most unwell need choice, control and dignity and legislation needs to support 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. Changes to legislation need to be in line with the delivery of the ambitious plan to transform mental health services over the next five years.”