Prime Minister Theresa May, in her speech at the Conservative Party Conference, has announced the independent review of the Mental Health Act, to be undertaken by Professor Sir Simon Wessely. The Prime Minister, reaffirming her commitment to make mental health a priority, has said that the legislation is leading to shortfalls in services and is open to misuse and, the review will help tackle the “longstanding injustices of discrimination in our mental health system once and for all.” The Mental Health Act allows the state to detain and treat a person without their consent, and can lead to high detention rates especially amongst Black and Minority Ethnic communities, against whom it is disproportionately used.
Earlier this year, the Prime Minister had pledged to replace the Act with a new Mental Health Treatment Bill, which would introduce revised thresholds for detentions in a bid to stop the powers being ‘overused’; a new code of practice aimed at reducing the disproportionate use of mental health detention for minority groups; and a new set of safeguards for people with mental health needs who have capacity to refuse or consent to treatment.
Other mental health announcements included a new Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board to look after servicewomen and men, and delivering mental health services better tailored for them; intensive rehabilitation in the community to tackle offenders with mental health needs; introducing transparency in mental health to ensure parity in mental and physical health wherever you live.
Read our response to the announcement here.