Association of Mental Health Providers welcomes the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act (MHA) Report published today. Chaired by Professor Sir Simon Wessely, the report, Modernising the Mental Health Act, has outlined 154 recommendations for change, of which two have already been accepted by the Government. The MHA, described by Professor Wessely as being a paradox, is both traumatic and confusing whilst being life-saving and an aid to recovery. The Act is used when people are most ill, vulnerable, in need of help, but have to be detained against their will, and so it is vital that the MHA is now aligned with the modern health system and support can be offered in an environment that is helpful and therapeutic, and can work better for everyone.
Responding to the publication of the Review, Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of The Association, said:
“We welcome the Review and the recommendations made, and hope that the Government accepts all the recommendations made in order to effect real change in the way people are treated under the MHA. It is vital that people are given more choice and control, and essentially are provided better care especially when detained. We know that a disproportionate number of people from ethnic minority groups are detained under the MHA with black people eight times more likely to be on a Community Treatment Order and four times more likely to be detained than white people, and as such, it is key that we ensure that people of black African and Caribbean descent with mental health needs receive the treatment and support they need without being discriminated against. The recommendations can potentially be life-changing for vulnerable people with serious mental illness and we would urge the Government to accept and implement these as soon as possible in order to transform care especially for those facing serious inequalities and discrimination.”
The Association is pleased to have supported the Review with our CEO Kathy Roberts having chaired the Advocacy Topic Group, our Trustee Steve Gilbert acting as Vice-Chair to the Review, and our Trustees Mark Winstanley and Sarah Hughes having also chaired Topic Groups.