Monday, August 02, 2021

Rights-based reform of mental health law in Scotland

The Scottish Mental Health Law Review has produced an impressive July 2021 interim report. It follows a ‘human rights model’ of disability. It sees the aim of legislation as being to secure human rights, which should be respected, of all those who may currently fall within the category of ‘mental disorder’. It will consider further, including with people with lived experience, about replacing the term ‘mental disorder’ with ‘mental and intellectual disabilities’. Specific mental health and capacity legislation needs to  be reinforced by legislative, policy and practice reform in a wider human rights agenda. Complete removal of compulsion, if it can be achieved, will have to be progressively realised and mental health law reframed to ensure it gives effect to an individual's rights, will and preferences in a non-discriminatory way. Although not straightforward, it should be possible to do this so that it is compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability (UNCRPD) (see eg. previous post). 

I'm pleased to see that Scottish mental health law reform takes UNCRPD into account, whereas I think the review in England and Wales essentially avoided the issue (see previous post). Service users and carers are front and centre of the Scottish review and three people with lived experience are part of the Executive Team, whose work is being intensified before the review is due to complete its work in September 2022.

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