During this year, Generate Voices have been campaigning for better mental health support in the learning disability community and beyond! Members have spoken to other charities and shared their own thoughts through the power of social media!
We will be winding down our campaign work soon in order to focus on various topics chosen by our members.
At our most recent Generate Voices session, we spoke about the Draft Mental Health Bill, the governments proposed changes to the Mental Health Act so people can get fair and better treatment.
Generate Voices have shared their own ideas for change before in a session last year which you can read here: “A learning disability is not an illness.” Bringing the Mental Health Act up to date at the Generate Voices Forum | Generate (generate-uk.org)
We started by discussing what the Draft Mental Health Bill is, which includes:
- Changes to safeguarding procedures for people who refuse medication
- A system which avoids the unnecessary sectioning of people with learning disabilities and autistic people.
- Medical treatment to not be provided unless you are detained, and the appropriate treatment is available.
- IMHAs (Independent Mental Health Advocates) will still be available to all people.
- Patients have the right to nominate someone to act on their behalf.
- Shorter detention periods are also proposed.
- A tribunal will make the decision on how long hospital admissions last.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 was also mentioned, under this act, people’s freedom can only be taken away in certain situations.
Do our members agree with these changes?
Nic said “The changes are beneficial for now, but one-to-one support and a more person-centered approach is definitely needed!”
Michelle agreed and added “The changes must reflect the needs of and wants of the patients!”
Some members didn’t agree with the government’s ideas for change as they felt sectioning is the wrong way to treat mental health issues, an opinion that is shared with many charities, organizations and advocacy groups across the country.
Michelle disagreed and explained “Many people with mental health issues need to be sectioned for their own good”
Nic added “Sectioning is required for some people but the people looking after them must be adequately trained!”
Terry said, “Staff must be well trained in dealing with people with learning disabilities who are struggling with their mental health, I’m lucky that I always see the same person who understands my condition and who I can trust!”
Luis added “I think the changes are a good idea as everything has to change for the good!”
Our members have mixed reactions about the Draft Mental Health Bill and the various changes that have been suggested, our members feel that the right support should be person centered.
If you are interested in Generate Voices and the sessions that we run, please do contact the Generate Voices Co-Ordinators, Chiz and Tony!