Our campaigning success
Government publishes plans to reform the Mental Health Act
In January 2021, the government published the Mental Health Act White Paper which set out their plans to reform the Act. This came as a result of many years of campaigning by Rethink Mental Illness and our friends across the mental health sector. It marked the beginning of a transition towards meaningful change in the care and treatment of people living with severe mental illness who are detained under the Act.
This wouldn’t have happened without the support of our campaigners who kept up the pressure to reform the Mental Health Act. Many emailed their MPs and some event met their MP virtually to share their personal experiences of the Act with them. We also supported our groups up and down the country to respond to the government’s consultation to reform the Act.
As part of the White Paper consultation, in April 2021 the government asked the public how they thought the Mental Health Act should be changed. This was a key milestone in the campaign to reform the Act - it gave Rethink Mental Illness and our supporters the chance to shape the final bill that will be bought forward to parliament and turned into law. To read our response as a charity and what’s next for the campaign click here.
£500m package of mental health funding announced amid Covid-19 pandemic
Together we influenced the Spending Review and the Winter Plan for mental health and wellbeing in 2020. We brought together over 50 organisations to call for a new social contract on mental health to address the huge challenges created by the pandemic.
The government announced a £500m package of mental health funding and a further £50m to support mental health inpatients being discharged from hospital. A big thank you to all our campaigners who supported our calls for a new social contract.
Severe mental illness prioritised in the NHS Long-Term Plan
In 2019 the NHS Long-Term Plan was published and for the first-time people severely affected by mental illness were prioritised - a huge success! This followed our campaigning which highlighted - among other things - the length of time people wait for treatment. We also published our Right Treatment, Right Time report, which we shared with MPs and other decision makers. The report reveals how the people who are most unwell are waiting the longest for treatment and assesses the impact of this on both patients and the NHS.
The NHS plan is a genuine attempt to care for people in their community, bringing together housing, employment and support for physical health, as set out in our Communities that Care report.
Seni’s Law receives royal assent
After over a year of campaigning, the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill – known as Seni’s Law – received royal assent in November 2018.
This win was a huge step towards making mental health hospitals a safer place for patients. This is because mental health units now have to take action to reduce the use of force against their patients. This includes providing better training for staff and making sure the police wear body cameras when they’re called to a mental health unit.
We want to say a big thank you to Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, for introducing the bill, as well as a huge thanks to everyone who campaigned and worked with Rethink Mental Illness to ensure the bill was passed.
Government drops harmful funding plans for supported housing
In August 2018, the government announced they would drop their harmful plans for supported housing funding. This gives tens of thousands of people with mental illness who live in supported housing much needed reassurance that their homes are safe from cuts and closure. It means they will have the support they need to thrive in the community and stay well.
Supported housing will now continue to be paid for through Housing Benefit and remain outside Universal Credit. For two years, we opposed the government's plans alongside our campaigners, so this is a tremendous campaign win.
Following this victory, we’re continuing our efforts to ensure that high-quality supported housing is available for everyone that needs it.
Thousands take action against changes to Personal Independence Payments
In January 2018, the government announced they wouldn’t be challenging a court ruling made in December 2017 that deemed previous changes to PIP as “blatantly discriminatory” towards people with mental illness.
This was a huge victory, as it meant that up to 164,000 people would receive a higher rate of PIP. The government’s decision to backdate these payments was also greatly welcomed, as it helped to restore a sense of independence to all those from which it had been taken.
We want to thank everyone that campaigns alongside Rethink Mental Illness. If you're new to campaigning and want to create positive change alongside tens of thousands of others, join us today and help us challenge attitudes and change lives for everyone severely affected by mental illness.