There's currently a government review of the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983.
There are two surveys for mental health service users and for carers available through that page, which are closing in a couple of days. There will I believe be further chances to submit evidence over the next few months.
At the moment the Act follows the psychiatric establishment in seeing autism as 'disorder or disability of the mind'. This is elaborated in the current MHA code of practice, chapter 20. Addiction is excluded from the Act however (so to be blunt, the state can often try to stop you killing yourself, but not drinking yourself to death), and learning disabilities are excluded unless ''associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct'.
Some useful submissions already made:
Interesting. Before my autism diagnosis, I was once Sectioned for 3 days after I tried to commit suicide through taking an overdose whilst in alcohol blackout. I was Sectioned, rather than simply kept in hospital overnight and released in the morning (as had happened before), because I was picked up in a public place. Basically, I'd gone downstairs and was sitting on the front wall - and when the ambulance arrived, I tried to run down the street. So, as far as things were at the time, I wasn't diagnosed as autistic, I was intoxicated, and the only thing on my medical history was 'depression'. Technically, drink was what had driven me to that state. I wonder what part of all that really justified the Section...
It is a very tricky subject. If you look at all the possible symptoms an autistic person can display, it can be difficult to separate autism with various disorders of the mind.
My own G.P.s point of view is that Asperger's is not a medical condition, but a development disorder with high potential for creating medical conditions. I sense that medically he's correct, I also sense that as an autistic person with an obsession for behavioural psychology and my general damn good gut instinct that my doctor has Aspergers.
My personal experience is that I spent a lot of my early life being extremely drunk to alleviate social anxiety and depression. From the outside, I've displayed symptoms of various disorders but on the inside I've just been scared, confused and frustrated. I don't really like any conversation where the subject is me. I tend to do a chameleon fallback in every situation, acting Bipolar was easier than finding the words to explain that my mood swings are entirely predictable to me...
Honestly I think mental health and wellbeing is not really handled very well in the UK, I feel like the mental health act is some kind of safety curtain to cope with the fact that we are basically terrible at dealing with mental health.
My belief is that we should really be looking at care from another perspective, I do believe that if I manage my life into the right shape, then none of the negative attributes of Asperger's will develop into serious mental health issues or really affect me or anybody else much. Therefore I think considering it to be a mental illness is wrong.
Interesting but I don't have the time - I am not online at home or on my mobile - to complete the survey now. As you say lets hope there are further chances to submit evidence over the next few months.
Autism is more likely to lead to severe anxiety and depression I would say. I think it’s a difference in brain wiring rather than a mental disorder. I’m more capable than many of the NTs that I encounter.
I would hope that they wouldn’t think we don’t have mental capacity. I have an advance medical directive and it fills me with fear if I thought that they’d ignore it.
I know autism is a disability but remember that the Government would love any excuse to cut funding from organisations which support those with mental health issues as well as autistic disabilities. They would love to treat everyone the same, so they could cut more services, like the Monday Club' which not only supports autistic people but those who have autism and mental health issues. Autistic people do have mental health issues like anyone else as well as a disability. I also have Coeliac disease and lost out on GF food due to cuts having to pay more for expensive bread and things, I want my rights to mental health support as a disabled person too, not that cut as well, using my autism as an excuse for not providing help in a crisis as I suffer from anxiety and stress and have come off anti-depressants and am learning to cope after being on them for eighteen years.
There is a lot more intolerance for displays of anger in today's enlightened world. I wonder why. I wonder what could possibly be going on to create the kind of frustration and dissatisfaction that might make individuals under pressure really lose it.
Ha, ha, well it's enough to get you sectioned, well I did walk around the Job Centres fair after being ordered to, with a copy of 'I Daniel Blake' openly displayed as a poster. I was so angry that I enjoyed telling all the stall holders I was on anti-depressants and they would not want me. That's what made me seek an autistic diagnosis, oh well I don't regret it as some one had to make a stand.
It certainly made an impression and I did get a response and then I pointed out all the things that was wrong with the system to the Manager. We got on very well after that incident...
That is the kind of thing I meant. Every time I fly into a UK airport warnings abound about not getting too angry with Immigration authorities. Again I can't help but wonder why....
I grew up in the 1980's during the era of punk, the Greenham women, the miners strike, everyone was alternative then. Coming out as Gay was dangerous, many of my gay friends were hounded and I often stood by them in solidarity. If you watch the film 'Pride' you will get a sense of that era, now if you don't conform or are seen as different you are given a label. I was a member of the 'Anti-apartheid' protest movement and went on a peace march with CND to Aldermaston in my twenties. So protesting at the job centre was naturally part of what culture I had grown up with and I see nothing wrong, if we live in a democracy. Incidentally it was the dissidents in the USSR who were sectioned and treated with drugs to control them, during the Communist era and now which the West condemned. That's why I enjoyed doing a History degree and as an autistic person have a great memory for important information. Perhaps because I was autistic, I enjoyed being different and being a challenge, when things were so unjust, in my opinion. We have a right to our opinions and a right to protest when treated without fear of repercussions.