Lib Dems: Mental health law should be reformed

    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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