Last week the UK Government published its white paper on reform of the Mental Health Act. Two years ago the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act made a series of recommendations to Government to overhaul legislation which allows people with mental health problems to be held against their will (‘sectioned’) in certain circumstances.
The white paper contains a number of suggestions which should give more legal weight to people’s choices and preferences about their care and treatment.
There should also be greater provision of culturally-appropriate advocacy, with a wider range of support from advocates to better help people from a range of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to express their thoughts and wishes about the care they receive.
Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at Mind said of the white paper:
"We are pleased the Government has accepted the majority of the recommendations made in the Independent Review. This is just the beginning of what is now a long overdue process. At the moment, thousands of people are still subjected to poor, sometimes appalling, treatment, and many will live with the consequences far into the future. Our understanding of mental health has moved on significantly in recent decades but our laws are rooted in the 19th century. Change on the ground cannot come soon enough."
To read more about Mind's response, and the white paper itself, visit the Mind website here.