The government has recently set up an Independent Review of the Mental Health Act. The Mental Health Act 1983 includes the powers and procedures for compulsory treatment in psychiatric hospitals, Community Treatment Orders, and the police power to arrest and detain in a ‘place of safety’.

The review has just launched a Service User and Carer survey. You can complete the online survey here. It is also accessible via the Review’s home page where it can also be downloaded and completed by hand.

The Review has some quite specific Terms of Reference, including the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnicities detained under the act, but the website states that evidence on wider issues relating to the Act will also be considered.

One of these wider issues is the question of whether the Act should allow compulsory detention and treatment. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has stated clearly that compulsory detention in the UK is contrary to Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention is being cited in arguments for a rights based Mental Health Act. There is some background and campaigning material on these issues on the Campaigns page of the NSUN website.

I was one of a number of members of the Survivor Research Network, who recently met Steve Gilbert, one of the vice chairs of the Review, to discuss guidance for organisations that will later be running focus groups for the review. You can read a short report of that meeting here.