Reforming the Mental Health Act: our reaction to the governments response to consultation

16 July 2021

Today, Thursday 15 July, the government published its response to the Mental Health Act consultation. Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness responded:

After many years of campaigning for change, we are both relieved and delighted that the government has published the results of the public feedback to the Mental Health Act White Paper, and has highlighted the strong response from people with direct experience of the Act. Our engagement with people currently and previously detained under the Act showed strong support for the proposed direction of travel, but high levels of scepticism that positive change could ever be introduced into mental health detention settings. 

We are therefore pleased that the government has committed both to bring forward a Mental Health Bill to reform the Act when possible and to conduct further engagement with experts-by-experience to shape the final detail of those reforms. We will work hard in the coming months to ensure that the voices of people with lived experience are reflected in a new Mental Health Act, alongside continuing to highlight the disparity in detention rates and outcomes for people from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

Reform of the Mental Health Act is only a part of creating a system which treats people severely affected by mental illness holistically and proactively responds to their needs in the least restrictive manner, but it is a vital part, and today's publication brings us one step closer to positive change. 

If you would like to read the consultation report, you can download this from the reforming the Mental Health Act consultation page on the website.