‘You lose your human rights’: Mental health law use up 12%


“When you are sectioned under the Mental Health Act, not only do you lose your voice, you also lose your human rights,” says Kelly, 47, from Surrey. The Independent.

After experiencing a mental health crisis in 2019, Kelly faced a ‘traumatic’ detention under the Mental Health Act, during which she says she was ‘criminalised’ for being ill.

Kelly’s story comes as a new analysis of NHS data has revealed the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act increased by 12% in December 2021 compared to the previous 12 months.

Leading charity Mind, which carried out the analysis, called for the implementation of promised reforms to the Mental Health Act after recommendations from a major review published in 2019.

According to the analysis, the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act rose from 10,760 in December 2020 to 12,013 in December 2021.

Talk with The Independent Kelly, who has had several experiences of detention under the Mental Health Act, described her last experience in 2019 as “very traumatic”.

She said: ‘I had a very public breakdown near my home. I had neighbors on the phone with the ambulance, and I had, you know, warrants for a psychiatrist or a social worker and to enter my property. To have people invading your privacy like that, and having a warrant to enter the property, it’s almost like they’re criminalizing you for not being well.

After being admitted, Kelly was then ‘released too soon’ and then had to undergo another formal section where she described staff as ‘roughing her up’.

“They were dragging me, six of them, you know, there was a guy behind me and my pants were actually falling down, and he tried to pull them up and then like the ones next to me and my top was standing up so that you could see my boobs. Then they just put you in a room and left you there to calm down.

Charity Mind is calling for the implementation of promised reforms to the Mental Health Act, including an end to community treatment orders, which require people to undergo treatment who live in the community, as opposed to those held in prisons. hospitalization units.

According to Mind’s analysis of the most recent NHS data, the number of people experiencing community treatment disorder also rose by 2,111 in December from 1,878 in December 2020.

However, overall, the use of CTOs decreased slightly from 5,709 to 4,943 in 2020-2021 compared to previous years.

Data released by NHS England shows use of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, which is used by police for people in custody, was 8% higher from July 20, 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Compared to 2019, the use of Section 136 was 10 percent higher during this period.

Rheian Davies, Head of Legal at Mental Health Charity Mind, said: “A recent worrying rise in detentions further confirms the urgent need for fully funded reform of mental health law, to ensure that anyone who is going through a mental health crisis and is a risk to themselves is treated in a safe and therapeutic environment. NHS data showed nearly 5,000 people received a community treatment order (OTC) in December 2020.

“Structural racism continues to permeate the Mental Health Act. Black and Black British people are still much more likely to be detained under the law, held against their will and more likely to be readmitted to hospital without getting the proper support. When a person is going through a mental health crisis, they may be suicidal, self-harm, or psychotic and feel very scared or distressed. At the very least, their loved ones should expect to be protected, treated with dignity and receive the care they need by the services designed to protect them.


Comments are closed.