Lib Dems: Mental health law should be reformed

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Leading Liberal Democrats will today call for mental health law
to be reformed to promote autonomy and better outcomes for users,
rather than public protection, writes Mithran Samuel
from the conference in Blackpool.

In a motion to this year’s Lib Dem annual conference, the party
will criticise the government’s decision to press ahead with
legislation based on a draft bill that was roundly slammed by for
its emphasis on compulsory treatment.

Former shadow health secretary Paul Burstow will say this “is
ill-judged and runs the risk of stigmatising people with mental
health problems instead of putting in place the services they
need”.

The motion says the government’s proposals would lead to
excessive compulsion, discourage people from seeking early help for
their condition and damage relationships between service users and
professionals.

It calls for increased access to psychiatrists, advocacy
services, preventive care and court diversion schemes to keep
mental health patients out of the criminal justice system.

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