NSUN’s key points about the interim report for the Mental Health Act review

We have made a list of key points about the interim report, which you can download here (format:PDF).

NSUN’s key points:

  • It continues to draw on a medical model in its language, concepts and approaches
  • The emphasis is on improvements to the current Mental Health Act, with a wide range of points put forward for consideration. There are positive suggestions such as possibly improved decision-making powers for service users, a strengthening of advance directives, choice for service users about appointments of the ‘nearest relative’ and improved support. (For the full set, see the Table of Issues on pages 49-55 of the report)
  • The fundamental changes recommended by the Committee for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) are not reflected in the overall report content, i.e. a human rights model of disability and an end to detentions, substitute decision-making and compulsory treatment
  • There is mention of considering the ‘legal, ethical and political issues arising out of the UNCRPD’, but, on page 46 of the report, the following statement appears: ‘We are not minded to recommend the complete repeal of both the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act’
  • There is a lack of emphasis on alternative, culturally appropriate and user-led services
  • NSUN has continuing concerns about the data collection process used as a basis for the report; the process has seemed to focus responses on improvements to the Mental Health Act, instead of providing full scope for people to express more fundamental views about the extent of change needed. The citing of some reports with significant flaws(for example, the Mental Health Alliance’s report) is also an issue
  • There is a reference to poverty having an impact on mental wellbeing, but little overall coverage of this in the report; the remit of the Review seems not to include dealing with poverty
  • There is considerable focus on disadvantages which people from black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities experience in the mental health system, but a lack of clarity about causes and specific solutions
  • There is some coverage of issues for children and young people and people with learning difficulties and autism, but issues for older people and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are not addressed.

There will now be a consultation period about the interim report.

Please do send your thoughts about it to NSUN, at info@nsun.org.uk

You can also email the Department of Health directly about the report at MHActreview@dh.gsi.gov.uk