Putting the voice of carers at the heart of our campaigns

For Carers Week, Will from our Campaigns and Policy team talks about how we are putting carers at the heart of our campaigns

As a charity founded by carers, they have always influenced the direction of our campaigning and policy work. And they continue to play a crucial role today, particularly on our work reforming the Mental Health Act and our In Sight In Mind campaign.

Mental Health Act Review

The current Mental Health Act is over thirty years old and currently under review.

Carers have told us that they often feel ignored when the person they love is detained under the Mental Health Act. They want to be involved in care and treatment decisions, and that’s not possible under the existing law. So, as part of our work on the Mental Health Act Review, we’ve been researching what good practice is happening around the country to involve carers, families, and friends in the care and treatment of someone detained under the Act.

We’ve also been looking at something called ‘the nearest relative’. When someone is detained under the Act, the nearest relative who will be consulted and involved in care decisions is currently picked from a hierarchical list of family members. We’ve pushed to get this replaced with a system of nomination, which will hopefully better reflect the wishes of the person who is detained, and the person most involved in their care.

When the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act reported in December 2018, the government immediately accepted the recommendation to reform the Nearest Relative mechanism, and promised to bring forward a new Mental Health Bill in order to do so.

While these are promising signs, we’re still waiting for their response to the rest of the Review’s recommendations, and campaigning for the government to accept them.

If you’d like to share your story about being a nearest relative with us, you can take our survey here.

In Sight In Mind campaign

Our In Sight In Mind campaign with the Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for people with the most severe forms of mental illness to have access to the services they need in their local area.

Carers of people who have been sent a long way from home for treatment have told us about the struggle and anguish they experience to stay in touch, and keep involved, with their loved one. We’re planning to share these stories in the media to help illustrate the problem, and put pressure on the government to make reforms.

Click here to join our In Sight In Mind campaign.

Get involved this Carers Week Use your voice and experiences as a carer to inform our campaigns by becoming a campaigner.

Share your story

If you or a loved one have been held under The Mental Health Act and have experienced problems with the Nearest Relative mechanism, we'd like to hear your story

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