Tag Archives: mental health act 1983

My view on our conference motion to end discrimination in mental health care

The problem with conference is that it is impossible to get to everything! I was hoping to speak on Sunday morning in our debate on the policy motion entitled, “Ending Discrimination In Mental Health Provision”. Regular readers of LDV know that mental health policy is an area I feel strongly about, so I am gutted I can’t get there due to a conflict.

 So I’ll blog my speech instead…

Currently, in our country if you are someone without a mental disorder you have an absolute right to refuse medical treatment or refuse to be detained for medical purposes.

However, if you have a mental disorder or have learning difficulties you lose that right and can be detained and treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 without giving consent.

As the charity Mind has pointed out, anyone with capacity who does not have a mental disorder should not be involuntarily detained. Forcibly detaining someone based on disability is completely discriminatory and should be stopped. As this motion says in lines 17-18, such detentions are in breach of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I am particularly concerned that the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended by the Mental Health Act 2007, justifies the involuntary detention of those with learning difficulties whose behaviour is “abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible”. Behaviours in those with learning difficulties often have unrelated causes (sensory overload, for example), so understanding the cause of such behaviour, and treating the underlying symptoms is what is needed, not involuntary detention.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

MPs with mental illness will no longer be automatically disqualified

The government announced today the repeal of a law which automatically expels MPs from Parliament if they have a serious mental health condition.

This morning on Daybreak TV, Nick Clegg spoke about the abolition of Section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983:

Today we are announcing that we are repealing an old-fashioned outdated law which means that MPs at the moment are disqualified from being MPs if they have a mental health problem which goes on for more than six months.

We are scrapping that – it is a relatively symbolic thing because it has never been used – but

Posted in Election law, News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments
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