Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 October 2004

Mental Health Bill

A Danger To Us All

THE MENTAL health charity Mind believes that if the new mental health bill becomes law, it will: "Seriously restrict the rights, the choices and the well-being of millions of people - while failing to provide the improved public safety its supporters claim."

Lucy Edwards, Bristol

The draft Mental Health Bill is inspired by the murder of Jonathon Zito by a released patient in 1992.

The general emphasis is placed upon the power to detain people considered to pose a 'serious threat' to the safety of others. No crime needs to be committed, the presumption that there is a threat and the view that an individual has a 'mental disorder' being enough to implement the detention.

The criteria for assessing that a person has a 'mental disorder' is very broad and could probably encompass the majority of Britain's population at some time in their lives. The proposed bill implies that more powers are needed to protect communities from potentially violent psychopaths but mentally ill people are in fact much more likely to become victims of crime rather than perpetrators.

People will live in fear of being locked up and will be disinclined to seek help for their illness due to lack of trust in a system that could quite easily see them detained.

Hang On

As a result, many will hang on until their illness manifests itself in more serious ways, thus increasing the likelihood that they could be detained. There will be an increased stigma of mental illness, further alienating an already extremely vulnerable section of society.

How can these proposals be implemented in an impoverished mental health system? Already people who want to stay in hospital are being sent home and many more wait for assessment or treatment that does not seem to materialise. What will be the implications for those patients who voluntarily seek help, unless much more money is put into this poor relation of the National Health Service?

If there were adequate provisions for people with mental health problems, if they had a legal right to expect to be offered assessment and treatment on request and if people were properly supported in the community, there would be no need for the draconian measures proposed in the Bill.

People should never be criminalised or otherwise penalised for being unwell. People with mental health problems should be embraced as valid members of society, the vast majority of whom have skills and qualities to offer.

People need help to enable them to contribute to society and to lead normal productive lives, not enforced treatment and liberty-threatening sanctions.

"WHEN NEW Labour withdrew the Mental Health Bill two years ago mental health organisations hoped that this was because the government had responded to the universal opposition to the Bill. The new Mental Health Bill shows that they did not.

Clare Wilkins, Birmingham

"The provision for compulsory treatment was one of the most controversial aspects of the original bill. Compulsion remains the key element of the new bill."

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

In The Socialist 23 October 2004:

Stop The Warmongers

Workplace news and analysis

Vote 'No' To Agenda For Change

Boss's 15-year Pension 'Holiday'

A Danger To Us All

Fight The Witchhunt In The Firefighters' Union

For A Fighting Unison Leadership

Socialist Party features

Capitalism Condemned But Where's The Alternative?

Black Gold Rush And Casino Capitalism

The Collapse Of Stalinism

International socialist news and analysis

German Walkout Starts Fightback

Socialist MP Fights Sell-Off Fiasco

After the General Strike


Home   |   The Socialist 23 October 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

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'


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!


triangleDemand for no-cuts budget grows

triangleThousands march - mayor needs real anti-cuts strategy

triangleBristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!


triangleBirmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangleBin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

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



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems


Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



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



PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

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



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice