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BASW England and BASW Cymru response to proposed reforms to Mental Health Act

The proposed reforms to the Mental Health Act aim to provide greater choice and autonomy for patients in a mental health crisis

The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that it will be introducing major reforms to the Mental Health Act designed to give individuals more control over their treatment.

The proposed reforms to the Mental Health Act aim to provide greater choice and autonomy for patients in a mental health crisis, ensuring the act’s powers are used in the least restrictive way, that patients receive the care they need to help them recover and all patients are viewed and treated as individuals.

They also aim to tackle the racial disparities in mental health services, better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities and autism and ensure appropriate care for people with serious mental illness within the criminal justice system.

In a joint statement Maris Stratulis National Director at BASW England, and Allison Hulmes National Director at BASW Cymru, said: "Human rights, choice and safety must be upheld and scrutinised, especially when people are admitted to hospital on a compulsory basis without their consent.

"Any reform that creates more freedoms, equality and investment in mental health community resources is welcome.

"Too many people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, adults with learning disability and autistic adults are detained under the Mental Health Act. This disproportionate over-representation cannot continue and we need to invest and create more preventative, community and family-based services.  

"BASW England and BASW Cymru look forward to being key stakeholders in the consultation response."