Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/951/25574

From The Socialist newspaper, 31 May 2017

Fight the Tory cuts and changes that take mental health back to Bedlam

photo amenclinicsphotos/CC, photo amenclinicsphotos/CC

photo amenclinicsphotos/CC, photo amenclinicsphotos/CC   (Click to enlarge)

The Tories' manifesto pledges changes to the Mental Health Act to "tackle unnecessary detention". NHS mental health nurse 'Harriet Ryman' responds.

Mental illness has always been present in society but what has differed throughout the ages is how sufferers were treated.

In 'The History of Madness' Michel Foucault describes how in the 14th century the 'lunatic' was banished to the outskirts of towns. In 1815 a House of Commons report revealed that the Bethlem hospital "showed its lunatics every Sunday for one penny" and it received up to 96,000 visitors each year.

Thankfully these barbaric practices have long since been kicked into the dustbin of history. Understanding of mental illness is slowly increasing and the development of treatments, changes in the law and the 'recovery model' devised by pioneering researchers Boardman, Slade et al guides mental health professionals towards enabling those with mental illness to manage their conditions themselves and live full lives as valued members of society.

Most mental health workers would concede that the system is far from perfect. But there can be no denying that advances have been made in the care and treatment of those suffering from mental illness. However, cuts to services are the biggest threat in rolling back the advances that have been made.

The Mental Health Act 1983 was brought into being with the specific notion of protecting the dignity and safety of those whose mental health relapse causes them to pose a risk to themselves or others.

No mental health professional would wish to admit someone to hospital against their will, but there are occasions when such an admission - or 'sectioning' - can literally be a life-saving measure.

The public duty to provide access to appropriate treatment and care is a mainstay of the act. In other words a person cannot be sectioned unless a hospital bed is identified and there is a plan in place to provide care and treatment.

The act cannot be applied to anyone unless three highly trained and experienced mental health professionals agree, and the least restrictive option, like treatment in the community, is always considered where this is safe to do so.

All sectioned patients have the right of appeal and to legal representation. Social services currently have a legal duty to provide money for community care to any patient who has been detained.

While the Mental Health Act has its flaws, Theresa May's claim that unnecessary detentions take place is ignorant and ill-founded.

Strict criteria are applied by highly skilled professionals before a person can be subjected to mental health legislation and it is insulting to psychiatrists and mental health professionals to suggest that they are not carrying out their functions correctly.

It is important to highlight that the rise in detentions is occurring against the backdrop of swingeing austerity policies which are placing more pressure on the health and wellbeing of people than ever before.

The suggestions that 'funding the Samaritans' and 'talking to children in schools' will somehow replace the current legislation underpinning the care and treatment of the seriously mentally ill, highlights that the Tory party is not competent to meddle with the Mental Health Act.

Tory claims

The discrimination that the Tories claim they are concerned about is a feature of capitalist society itself and does not just occur in the mental health system.

Tory party cash perks for big business while cutting vital public services ensure that the richest in society are always treated more favourably than workers. The redistribution of wealth and resources in society would go a long way towards tackling the discrimination that May speaks of.

Although mental illness can strike anyone from any class, those of us who work within mental health services note that the majority of our patients comprise the poorest in society and that poverty and lack of access to basic decent resources perpetuate mental ill health and lead to repeated admissions to hospital.

The Tories have no plans to address the poverty and material hardship that impede recovery from mental illness. In fact, the rates of mental illness and other social ills are likely to increase under a government delivering policies that widen inequality in society.

The need for service users, carers and trade unionists working in mental health services to unite against the Tories is more pressing than ever.

No one should be fooled into believing that Tory plans to meddle with the Mental Health Act are progressive. These plans will only be utilised to support and accelerate the drive to slash and burn services for the mentally ill.

We should be in no doubt that if mental health legislation is eroded, the legal duty of the state to provide funding, care and treatment for seriously mentally ill people will be eroded also.

If someone suffering from mental illness is lucky enough to have a carer, this person will be left carrying the sole responsibility to treat and contain the risks inherent in mental health crises.

In the absence of a carer, the police or prison cell will become the method of choice to contain the person suffering a relapse of their mental condition.

Mental health workers are united with service users and carers in seeking genuine progressive changes within the mental health system. We must fight together to stop the Tory cuts and privatisation that risk driving mental health provision back to the dark days of Bedlam.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 31 May 2017:


What we think

Mobilise for a mass movement after 8 June

How can Corbyn's programme be implemented?


Socialist Party news and analysis

After 8 June: build the socialist fightback

Workers warned BA boss of tech failure danger

Families to have 15,000 debt by 2020 - trade union action needed

Tories and Blairites in pockets of big business: kick them out!


Fighting Tory schools cuts

Struggle can beat Tories' outlandish 7% cuts to schools

Fighting Tory cuts to the schools budget


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: burning anger


Workplace news and analysis

PCS conference: Confident delegates back fighting strategy and Jeremy Corbyn

Certification officer confirms that Unison did break the rules in general secretary election

Gains for left in Unison national executive election

Shortened GMB conference to hear pro-Corbyn and anti-austerity motions

Strike action to save Sheffield Jobcentre

Union stops finance for anti-Corbyn Labour MP

Manchester housing workers' strike solid

Bully bosses' zero-hour backdown

National Shop Stewards Network conference 2017


Tory attacks on mental health care

Fight the Tory cuts and changes that take mental health back to Bedlam


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Don't wait! Join the Socialist Party to transform society

Electric atmosphere at Jeremy Corbyn rally in Glasgow

Why I joined: "To fight for an end to tuition fees and cuts"

Manchester socialists campaigning against war, racism, terrorism and austerity

Socialist Party hosts pro-Corbyn rally in Southampton

Student occupation at Chelsea College of Arts

North Bristol: angry march in defence of the NHS

Book launch meeting: showing the Socialist Party's active participation in events past and present

Women and austerity - scrap the 'rape clause'


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

June 1917: when workers in Britain first tried to form soviets

Heroic socialist fighters who sang as ship went down - new memorial

Corbyn's policies could help fight unhappiness for LGBT+ people

Obituary: Rhodri Morgan 1939-2017, architect of the 'Welsh Labour' brand

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 31 May 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Mental health:

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleTories wreck our NHS

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

triangleVital women's services under threat

triangle40% of England's psychiatric wards are 'unsafe'

Health:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleNHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

triangleStrike to save our NHS!

Cuts:

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Tories:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

Hospital:

triangleUprising to save the NHS!

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/10/17

Refugees

Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

18/10/17

Brexit

Tories torn - bin them now

18/10/17

What we saw

What we saw

18/10/17

Food

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

18/10/17

NHS

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

18/10/17

Debt

Young people being strangled by debts

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2