The Mental Health Act Review: Everything Remains the Same

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From Tales from the Madhouse: On May 1st, the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act published a 60-page interim report. The report makes it clear that no meaningful changes will result from the Mental Health Act review.

“At first glance, hopes are raised for some important and meaningful changes. There is reference to a ‘greater focus on a rights-based approach,’ an openness to learn from other jurisdictions such as Northern Ireland (who are implementing a comprehensive legal framework that does not discriminate against the ‘mentally disordered’), and acknowledgement of the need to reform Community Treatment Orders (where home-based patients are typically compelled to ingest psychotropic drugs under threat of further incarceration). There is even the expressed intention to revisit the concept of ‘risk’ – raising hope that psychiatry’s perverse approach to risk could change – along with lamenting about increased risk aversion among professionals and the need to support positive risk taking.

But, regrettably, when the report addresses the fundamental issue of self-determination, the rights of people with capacity to make their own decisions and for these decisions to be respected, it becomes clear that this Mental Health Act review will deliver no important changes.”

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