I was recently invited to observe an important debate regarding the Mental Health Act review. The debate was held at Westminster Hall over in Parliament on the 25th of July 2019. It must be only the second time I have visited Parliament and if some of my forum members was not there, I would have easily got lost.
I have to thank the Lewisham carer members for attending the debate, it was a lot to ask of them. I wanted to also ask the Lambeth carer members, but that forum was on the same morning and I had to cut my chairing of the forum short. One of the members from the Southwark carers forum wanted to attend, but was held up and I know she is very involved in the mental health act review.
Before I continue, what is the mental health act?
The Mental Health Act 1983 is an Act of the Parliament and it covers how people who are brought into mental health treatment. The MHA also covers the care of mentally unwell persons. There are cases when a person can be detained, also known as sectioned, under the Mental Health Act (1983) and treated without their agreement.
It is important to remember that under the Mental Health Act (MHA), you can be detained if Mental Health professionals think your mental health puts you or others at risk, and you need to be treated in a safe environment.
When someone mentally unwell ends up being detained, they have certain rights.
– They have the right to appeal, and the right to get help from an independent advocate.
– To have someone explain what happens to you and why.
– The right to ask questions on why you are detained.
– The right to confidentiality, although this can be a tricky area.
– The right to be involved in your care plan.
There are also many other rights including equality, but these and other rights can be saved for another blog.
Why was there a debate on the mental health act?
The area many reasons for the debate on the mental health act, the most common being that the times have changed and the mental health act 1983 needs to reflect the changing environment. There are also problems with the mental health act, and I mean big problems.
The previous Prime Minister asked the Professor of Psychological Medicine at the IOPPN (Sir Simon Weesley) to review the Mental Health Act. There have been numerous challenging mental health cases that challenge the legislation of the mental health act. These cases are very tragic and have lead to many serious incidents and investigations. Some cases have had very long delayed investigations and many patients and their loved ones have suffered for it.