I’m thrilled to tell you that I’ve just launched Jo’s Law: my plan to replace the Mental Health Act 1983!
I’ve talked to over 100 service users and carers about what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Mental Health Act and I’ve been in touch with thousands more on social media and through my Blog which I have been publishing since early 2019.
This inspired me to capture the voices and views of service users and carers in Wales: and now I think I can set out what is really needed to replace the Mental Health Act.
My Plan is for a new Mental Health Act which:
1. Redefines the role and purpose of the law
2. Provides reciprocal rights before compulsion is needed
3. Reforms the process of compulsion
4. Provides reciprocal rights for those subject to compulsion
5. Reduces the use of compulsion
6. Differentiates crime and illness
7. Engages carers and families
My view is that the Mental Health Act is one of the main causes of the stigma associated with mental health precisely because its sole focus is on coercion.
Fixing the law on mental health is a wider issue than just reforming the rules on who can be detained. It is about a fundamental shift away from coercion and towards respect and dignity.
Jo’s Law has been published by mental health charity Hafal which is supporting me with my campaign in order to promote discussion of mental health law in England and Wales.
Hafal Chair Mair Elliott told me: “We’ve been really inspired by Jo’s campaign and the points she has raised and we look forward to exploring our own position in the light of Jo’s research in the coming year. Look out for more information at our forthcoming events and on our website and social media.”
A huge thank you to everyone who has spoken to me about their experiences of the Act and provided me with such valuable feedback. I’ll keep you posted on my progress with Jo’s Law in the new year!
ABOUT JO’S BLOG
Jo Roberts is a mental health campaigner who has been on the receiving end of the Mental Health Act – and is still subject to it today. In the past she has received compulsory treatment; some of that treatment was deeply unpleasant and even terrifying. Jo is campaigning for a progressive Mental Health Act fit for the 21st Century – an Act that gives patients and carers in Wales a fairer deal. Read more…