Church urges government rethink on draft mental health bill

The government was warned to pay attention to hostile opposition
to the draft mental health bill from members of the Church of
England’s synod, writes Katie Leason.

Members of the Synod voted unanimously in favour of a motion
which asked the government “to take careful note of the wide
response to the draft bill”.

The motion advised the government to revise the text of the
draft bill to take account of concerns, including the proposed
inclusion of people with learning difficulties within the realm of
compulsory treatment even when they do not have an additional
mental health problem.

More than 200 people voted for the motion which also called for
enough resources to be made available to implement the new
legislation and for “a real alternative to prison” for people with
mental health problems.

The Archdeacon of Lincoln, the Venerable Arthur Hawes, who
proposed the motion, urged the government to wait and to seriously
consider how to amend the Mental Health Act 1983.

“We are dealing with some of the most vulnerable, disadvantaged
and marginalised people in our society and with such a delicate
issue as the detention of mentally ill people the government would
be well advised to take time to reflect,” he said.

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