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The dawn of a new Mental Health Act

After a long wait of over two years, on Wednesday 13 January the UK Government published their plans to reform the Mental Health Act.

Our understanding of mental health has changed hugely since the current Act was created in 1983. The UK Government have recognised that we need something more modern, that strengthens people’s rights, and respects their choices and dignity.

Being sectioned means that you are kept in hospital under the Mental Health Act. You can be sectioned if your own health or safety are at risk, or to protect other people.

At the moment, thousands of people are still subjected to poor, sometimes appalling, treatment when they are sectioned, and many will live with the consequences for a long time. Change on the ground cannot come soon enough.

The proposed changes to this outdated and discriminatory legislation include:

  • Giving people more choice about their care and treatment
  • Allowing people to choose which family member or friend has the right to be involved in their care
  • Providing culturally appropriate advocacy and 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.

You can have your say about the proposed changes. They are an important first step towards changing the Mental Health Act for the better. You can respond directly to the public consultation here.

Posted on: 18th January 2021

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