The Mental Health Alliance presented a mental health petition to Downing Street this week.
With 9,000 signatures, the petition called on the UK government to give people a legal right to early treatment, rather than waiting until they reach a crisis point. The petition is in response to the compulsion-focused Mental Health Bill currently making its way through the House of Commons.
Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Welsh mental health charity Hafal, explained: “Compulsion laws must be balanced with rights to early treatment in the Mental Health Bill.
“Our clients and carers have always been reasonable: they have accepted that there are times when compulsion is necessary. But we also believe that including the right to early treatment in the Amending Bill would deliver a just Mental Health Act for the future – an Act that would lead to a reduction in the need for compulsion.”
Among the petitioners who took part in the official handing over of the document to Downing Street were Lord Melvyn Bragg, Conservative health spokesperson Earl Howe, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Baroness Neuberger and psychiatrist Baroness Murphy. The mayor of London Ken Livingstone was the 9,000th signatory to sign the petition.
The Mental Health Alliance is a coalition of 78 organisations working together to secure a better mental health legislation. For more information, go to: www.mentalhealthalliance.org.uk