11th October 2017

Back in May we wrote about Theresa May’s plans to “rip up” the Mental Health Act 1983. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on 4th October she elaborated on those plans, announcing an independent review of the Act to tackle the injustice and stigma associated with mental health.

Mrs May explained that the review will examine rising rates of detention and the disproportionate numbers of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people detained.

The review will be chaired by former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sir Simon Wessely. He discusses the reasons for the review here, explaining that despite progress in our attitudes to mental illness “…we are witnessing some troubling trends. The number of people detained under the Act is rising at an alarming rate – up 47% in 10 years. We detain almost four times as many black people as white people.”

Mrs May explained that the review will examine the causes of the rising rates of detention and the continued disproportionate use of the act in relation to BAME people. It will also investigate concerns about safeguards available to people, such as tribunals and second opinions, the use of community treatment orders (CTOs) and the ability of people to determine which family members have a say in their care.

A report is due by autumn 2018.

Blog by Ronagh Craddock, Trainee Solicitor in the Mental Health department