Mental health reforms ‘must ensure funding’

‘Landmark’ reforms of mental health laws must also ensure ongoing funding for councils’ mental health services, the LGA has said.

The Government is consulting on changes to the Mental Health Act aimed at giving people more control over their treatment, putting patients’ views at the centre of their care, and helping tackle mental health inequalities – such as the disproportionate detention of those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

The White Paper consultation also says a learning disability or autism should not be considered a mental disorder for which someone can be detained for treatment.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said mental health inequalities have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We strongly support the objective to give people a stronger say in their treatment.

“Councils play a significant role in mental health, both in terms of their statutory duties under mental health legislation and supporting treatment and recovery.

“The challenges with the current Act are indicative of a system that is under strain because of increased demand and reduced funding. Any reform of the Mental Health Act needs to include ongoing funding for councils’ mental health services, so they can continue to invest in effective support to meet existing, new and unmet demand.”

The LGA will be responding to the consultation, which closes on 21 April. Please email your thoughts on the matter to kevin.halden@local.gov.uk.

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