Mental Health law: Support, resources, and insights.

We have come a long way in terms of awareness and support, but Mental Health matters continue to have a stigma and an air of uncertainty overshadowing them. For example, a 2016 survey by Time to Change Wales revealed that 1 in 10 people believe that people with mental health illnesses can never fully recover, and 1 in 7 believed that people with mental health problems should not be allowed to hold public office. People still have reservations about speaking openly and honestly about their personal mental health experiences and challenges.

In a bid to raise awareness, the CJCH Solicitors mental health department have shared insight into some of the information we believe people should be aware of when it comes to mental health law.

We asked Craig Mills, a solicitor in the mental health law department to answer a few important questions:

What the aim of mental health law is?

The Mental Health Act protects the rights of people with mental health challenges, not only when someone is detained in hospital but also when someone is being treated for their ailments within the community under the Act. People should only be admitted to hospital against their wishes when it is essential to their health and safety or the protection of others.

What should people be aware of when it comes to matters relating to mental health?

Personal rights are an important thing for people to be aware of. There has been a lot of mental health advocacy recently and people need to be aware that it can affect individuals in a number of different ways  (Read a recent article in BBC News on South Wales Police wanting mental health lessons for youths). It can sometimes be difficult to identify when/if people are suffering from mental health problems, but it is important that everyone is aware that help is available. There are a number of mental health charities that can provide support.

Here are some links to assist with finding the right support for you or your loved ones:

For an example of how these matters are impacting people in Wales, you can read this recent article about three people’s personal struggle with mental illness which was shared for World Mental Health day.

For more information or assistance with a mental health legal issue, contact our team via email: mentalhealth@cjch.co.uk ; to telephone: 0333 231 6405.

CJCH Mental Health Department and Mental Health Reforms

Senior Solicitor Keith James from our Mental Health Department tells us about the department and gives insights on Mental Health reforms.CJCH Solicitors have the largest Mental Health Law department in South Wales. We also have a contract to conduct work in the South West. The work involves many challenges including assisting vulnerable clients on a daily basis. We represent clients throughout South Wales and the South West at around 56 hospitals and units. What often strikes us is the lack of understanding in the community and amongst the general public about mental health. Recently, Prime Minster Theresa May gave a keynote speech identifying the need for reforms which particularly focus on young people and their mental health needs.

The Prime Minster was particularly keen that institutions should tackle the stigma around mental health with a focus on children and young people. Additional training for teachers, an extra £15m for Community Care and improved support in the workplace were measures announced by May in her speech.

Theresa May gives speech on Mental Health reforms

One in four people at some point in their lives are believed to have a mental disorder and the cost to the country is believed to be around £105 billion per year. The focus on young people is particularly relevant as half of all mental health problems are believed to start by the age of 14 and 75% by 18. May said she felt mental health had been “dangerously disregarded”.

As part of the reforms all secondary schools will be offered mental health first aid and training. There will be a review of improving support in the workplace and attempts to strengthen links between schools and NHS Specialists.  Staff, employers and organisations will be given training to support staff amongst various other changes. The focus is to raise the profile of mental health and try to achieve true “parity of esteem” with physical health.

To get in touch with our highly experienced Mental Health team please contact healthlaw@cjch.co.uk