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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  • This a complicated matter. As most people know autism or other learning disabilities aren't considered on the Mental Health Act. The act itself is to safeguard and protect themselves and others. Most professionals may agree that autism isn't considered under this act. However, it is no secret that people or specifically children have been excluded from school or have to go to some sort of institute due to the nature of the circumstances.

    But, it isn't just about children but of course adults too. Also, this is not about who comes first or who is more important than the other. Ultimately, it is about upholding the rights, dignity amongst other various attributes. It is so much more than withholding the right and living up to the expectation. It might be worth putting this issue to the relevant authority.

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