Modernise the Mental Health Act
The Mental Health Act 1983 is the law that allows someone to be detained and treated for a mental illness without their consent. It can save lives, but it is out of step with how a modern society thinks about mental illness.
The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act (2018) led by Professor Sir Simon Wessely consulted extensively for over a year with professionals, sector organisations, carers and people who have been subject to the Act.
If implemented, the recommendations of the Wessely Review will do more to protect and care for the people subject to the Mental Health Act. It would mean people had more choice and say in their treatment. It would stop significant family members and friends being cut out of a person’s care. It would reduce forced medication and restraint.
In 2018/19, there were 49,988 detentions under the Mental Health Act – with black African and black Caribbean people detained at four times the rate of white people, Detentions under the Act have risen substantially. Being detained for the first time is a confusing and scary experience. People need to know in that moment that they are going to be given as much choice as possible at a time when they may feel that control is slipping away from them. That’s why we’re calling for the recommendations of the final report ‘Modernising the Mental Health Act: increasing choice, reducing compulsion’ to be implemented in a new mental health bill, along with a sufficient capital funding commitment to upgrade mental health units.