Having Your Say on the Mental Health Act

Posted by See Me, 27 June 2017

As part of our policy work we are looking at ways which we can improve laws, policies and practices towards enabling people who have experienced mental health problems the best possible chance to live fulfilled lives free from stigma and discrimination.

As part of See Me's Rights for Life work we want to look at laws and policies which impact our rights, particularly within health and social care, to ensure they are as effective as they can be in protecting people from discrimination.

The Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee at the Scottish Parliament have issued a call-out for people’s views on Acts which have come in to force over the last 18 years (the lifetime of the Scottish Parliament). We want to encourage them to look at the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) 2003 Act, in respect of stigma and discrimination and how it protects human rights. This act was last scrutinised seven years ago, so we want to gather views to feed into the Committee on how it is impacting on people’s lives and if any of the concerns raised then, particularly in relation to these issues, have been addressed.

We don’t want to do this alone – we want to hear from you on how the Mental Health Act has worked for you, and how it hasn’t. Mental health is being talked about in public now far more than it ever has been and every day we hear people talking about tackling stigma and protecting people’s human rights; indeed, human rights are central to the new 10 year Mental Health Strategy, but improvement is still needed.

If you’re not too sure about your rights, or how this could be relevant to you, then check out the Rights for Life Declaration here. We want the Declaration to help inform people about their rights and support their realisation, so please check it out.

So how can you get involved? There are two options (and you can do both): 

1. We are going to be holding a gathering 2-4pm, 19th July in Brunswick House, 51 Wilson Street, Glasgow, G1 1UZ with people to discuss this further; if you are interested in attending, please email info@seemescotland.org. Lunch will be provided – so please also say if you have any access or dietary requirements.

 2. Check out the question below and email your answer to Benjamin.McElwee@seemescotland.org or answer completely anonymously at http://tinyurl.com/SeeMeMHAct by 19th July. We will then use your experiences to help inform us when we write to the Committee and we will keep you up to date with what is happening. Anything you say will be kept anonymous, unless you tell us otherwise.


 What are your experiences of the Mental Health Act in Scotland? Do you think it has enabled you to realise your rights and get the support and help you need? Or have you still faced discrimination in areas where it should protect you (e.g. Access to Advocacy; de facto detentions)?

 Read about the principles of the Mental Health Act, the 3 main compulsory powers, and the safeguards that are in place.