Jan 23, 2022
The Mental Health Act 1983 is a British law that regulates mental health and social care in the United Kingdom. It was passed into law on July 1, 1983, after the then- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher introduced it as a response to the Social Security Crisis of 1982. The act provides for compulsory reporting of mental health problems by doctors and nurses; access to medical support for people with serious mental illness; financial assistance for people who need help to live independently; and regulation of how these services are provided. It also provides for the establishment of a National Health Service Commissioning Board, which oversees the provision of mental health services in England.
The act is split into five parts, covering different aspects of the mental health system:
- Part 1 deals with general duties on doctors and other medical professionals. It requires them to report patients with a mental disorder to their local authority (if they are aged over 16). Doctors are also required to refer such patients to the relevant local authority social work department if they believe that the patient may need help in coping with their illness. If a doctor fails to report an individual or refuses to take action against them, they could face prosecution and a fine. The section also requires doctors to inform patients when they might have to be sectioned and to explain what this means.
- Part 2 deals with the duties of social workers, who are responsible for ensuring that people are placed in appropriate accommodation or supported in other ways so as to enable them to live an independent life. Social workers must also take action if they suspect a person may have a mental disorder and needs help. The act outlines the kinds of action that a social worker can take, but it does not require them to take any specific action. If they do not, or if they fail to report a patient or refuse to take action against them, they could face prosecution and a fine.
- Part 3 sets out the duties of local authorities (or “local authorities”) in England. Local authorities must ensure that people with mental disorders receive adequate medical care and support as necessary; report mentally ill people who need help; and ensure that alternative accommodation is available for those who need it. They must also provide advice on how best to support someone with a mental disorder if they have become homeless through no fault of their own. Local authorities must also appoint designated officers who will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements under Part 3 are met. This includes appointing one person as the lead officer for each local authority area; and providing an annual report to the Secretary of State.
- Part 4 sets out the duties of all local authorities in England. They must, among other things: appoint a lead officer or designate; provide advice to people with a mental disorder who are homeless through no fault of their own; and ensure that alternative accommodation is available for them. Local authorities must also appoint designated officers who will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements under Part 4 are met. This includes appointing one person as the lead officer for each local authority area; and providing an annual report to the Secretary of State.
- Part 5 deals with making regulations in respect of any matter relating to mental health services in England and Wales, including licensing, registration and regulation by social workers, doctors and other professionals, as well as training, standards of care and supervision by those professionals, as it relates to these services.
Deprivation Of Liberty (DoLS) & Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)
DoLS is a term used to describe the process of depriving an individual of their right to liberty. Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) are a set of measures that protect individuals from being deprived of their rights to freedom and privacy as part of DoLS.
The UK is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This Convention sets out a set of rights that each person with a disability should have access to. It also sets out the responsibilities of governments in ensuring that people with disabilities are not discriminated against and receives adequate support.
The CRPD protects people from being deprived of their rights to liberty, security, and privacy. The CRPD states that governments should not deprive individuals of their right to liberty unless they are convicted of committing a crime or if they are subject to an order made by a court. The CRPD also states that governments must take all possible steps to protect individuals from being deprived of their rights and must make sure that these rights are respected in practice. This means that if a government fails to comply with its legal obligations, it can be held accountable under international law.