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Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983

BASW's initial response to the report from the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983...

BASW welcomes the report from the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and recognises social work and AMHP representation in the process has been significant.  

As an association we believe the existing Act is outdated and urgently needs reform.  We know from our members and experts by experience that people subject to the powers of the Act do not always experience fair and appropriate treatment and respect for their human rights and dignity. 

The Review of the Act was set up with a specific aim of addressing the increasing use of detention and particularly the over-representation of people from black and minority ethnic groups. Its success will depend in part in contributing to resolving these significant issues.  

Mental health problems and distress do not happen within a ‘social vacuum’.  Austerity, discrimination, inequality, poverty, abuse and social isolation cause and exacerbate mental health problems. The review’s focus on balancing rights is welcome,  but it’s success will depend on vital investment in the social systems and the right, early support for people who struggle with mental distress.  This includes further recognising and promoting the role of social workers and social care.

BASW will issue a full response once we have consulted with our members.