“The Mental Health Act needs a comprehensive and independent review ten years on from its last major reform to help bring about legislation that meets the needs of the twenty-first century,” Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said today.

Welcoming the appointment of Professor Sir Simon Wessely by the Prime Minister to lead a review of the Act, Sarah Hughes said: “The Mental Health Act is a unique piece of legislation that allows to state to detain and treat a person without their consent. It can save lives, but being subject to it can be a traumatic and frightening experience. And it is still disproportionately used with people from Black and minority ethnic communities.

The Mental Health Act can save lives, but being subject to it can be a traumatic and frightening experience. And it is still disproportionately used with people from Black and minority ethnic communities.

“We are delighted that Sir Simon will lead the review. We would hope that it will be co-produced from beginning to end with people who have personal as well as professional experience of detention. The process must be informed by lived experience and produced in partnership with individuals, families and communities who are more likely to be affected by it.

The process must be informed by lived experience and produced in partnership with individuals and communities who are more likely to be affected by it.

“We expect the review to be comprehensive. It must look at every aspect of the Act and explore not just the legislation but the context in which it is used. We can only understand why use of the Act has risen every year since it was last reformed in 2007, and why some people are so much more likely than others to be detained, if we examine the way society has changed and services have developed over that time.

We can only understand why some people are so much more likely than others to be detained, if we examine the way society has changed and services have developed over time.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment today to make tackling the injustices relating to mental health a particular priority and to tackle ‘longstanding injustices of discrimination in our mental health system for once and for all’. We hope that this will bring about greater equality for people with mental health difficulties in all aspects of life and fairer treatment for our mental health across the country.”