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05.10.17

Mental Health Act review a ‘priority’, says May

Speaking today at the Conservative Conference in Manchester, Theresa May has announced an independent review by Professor Sir Simon Wessley into the controversial Mental Health Act, in order to tackle the “injustice and stigma associated with mental health,” which she has named as a priority.

The prime minister expressed concerns that the current mental health legislation, which is now over 30 years old, has shortfalls and is open to misuse, with high detention rates observed under Act.

She also made reference to the fact that those from black and minority ethnic groups are most disadvantaged when it comes to mental health.

In response to her speech, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation said: “The Mental Health Act plays an important role in supporting people who have reached the point of crisis. However, it is nearly 35 years old and clearly needs refreshing, so we welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to this review. We can think of no one more qualified than Professor Sir Simon Wessely to conduct it.

“Detentions under the act have risen year-on-year since 2010-11 and are still disproportionately used with members of BAME communities. We must ensure there are sufficient preventative services in place to help people before they reach crisis point.

“We urge the government to continue with its promise of putting mental health on a par with physical health. Implementing some joined-up thinking between preventative and crisis services would be a key step toward this.”

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