A blog post by Jo Roberts
You all listened to the Queen’s Speech on Monday, didn’t you?
Well, just in case you didn’t I can tell you that she announced that the UK Government will be working to reform the Mental Health Act 1983 – something I have been campaigning for in this Blog.
But before you get too excited let me bring out two buckets of cold water…
- This is just about the modest but sensible reforms suggested in the Government-commissioned Review which reported last year
- The Queen’s Speech may shortly get filed under “no longer required” if a General Election is called
So should we take any notice? Oh yes we should! We need to fight all the harder to get the message across about outdated mental health law. And a General Election and then a new Parliament present an opportunity for us to speak and be heard – even if we have to compete with all the noise about (whisper it softly) Brexit.
So I have an idea…
Based on the fantastic feedback from service-users and carers since 2018 I am aiming to publish my ideas in Jo’s Law – my plan to replace the Mental Health Act 1983.
Now I want to make sure that Jo’s Law is based exactly on what service-users and carers want so I mean to test these ideas between now and December.
To get the ball rolling I’d like your views on these ideas for a new mental health law which I’ve picked up from people while doing my Blog:-
- Clarify the purpose of compulsion: it should be about keeping people safe – no more, no less
- Give patients rights to care and treatment before compulsion is needed
- Give patients rights to respect, privacy, and choice when they are detained against their will
- Involve families and carers from the start
- Set legal targets to reduce the use of compulsion
- Reform the criminal law in respect of those with mental illness so that safety is the focus instead of blame and punishment
Hafal has kindly set aside time for workshops at their Members’ Days in South Wales (25 October) and North Wales (14 November) to discuss my ideas about reforming the law – if you are a Member then book your place!
But don’t worry if you can’t get to these events – you can write directly to me with your ideas via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And I’m going to test the ideas with some short questionnaires on social media – watch this space…