Scottish charities welcome the review of the Mental Health Act

2 April 2019

Photograph: Pixabay

The current legislation on Mental Health came into force in 2005 and the review is promising to examine and improve the law protecting those with mental health issues.

The Scottish Government is to review the Mental Health Act for the first time since 2003.

In an announcement on the gov.scot website on 19 March, Clare Haughey, minister of mental health, said:

The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to bringing change to people’s lives and ensuring that mental health is given parity with physical health. This review of the Mental Health Act will take this a step further, reaffirming our commitment to creating a modern, inclusive Scotland which protects and respects human rights.”

Data from the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey shows that every week at least 1 in 6 adults experience anxiety or depression, and 1 in 5 have considered taking their own life at some point.

There were over 5,000 suicides in the UK in 2017 based on the Samaritans Suicide Reports. In Scotland, the overall number of people taking their own lives decreased between 2016 and 2017, however the rates for young men increased for the third consecutive year in 2017, as seen in the summary of the report.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) shared their thoughts on their Twitter page, saying: “We welcome the announcement by the @ScotGov of a full review of #mentalhealth and capacity law in Scotland. We look forward to contributing to the review to ensure mental health law is fit for the future, and supports the rights of people receiving treatment and support.”

 Lifelink, a social enterprise delivering positive mental health and wellbeing support in Scotland, also welcomed the news. A spokesperson said:

“Continued support for charitable or non-profit orgnisations that provide mental health services within communities is vital as they provide a non-medical, non-judgemental service that looks at the whole person – including their existing support network and local environment. Charitable organisations, such as ourselves, help individuals to recognise, understand, cope and care for themselves while living with mental health issue and/or supporting those around them struggling with similar problems.”

In 2017 the government initiated a 10 year Mental Health Strategy to “work on achieving parity between mental and physical health.”

Infographic: Dora Pongracz

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