Mental Health Act review

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'.

  • Should autism be excluded in a similar way?
  • Do you know how many people are detained just on the basis of autism or learning disabilities?
  • Do you have any other experience or opinion on the Mental Health Act? What about advance directives, or mental capacity?

Some useful submissions already made:

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  • 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.

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