Mental Health Alliance calls for end to rising tide of detentions

27 November 2003

The Mental Health Alliance today (November 27) called for a reversal in the rising tide of compulsions over the last 10 years. The call came in response to new figures from the Department of Health showing dramatic increases in the period 1991-2001.

Mental Health Alliance chair, Paul Farmer said:

"The rising trend in compulsion over the last 10 years shows that mental health services are driven by fear.

A few tragic cases fuelled by often sensationalist media reporting have created the false impression in the public's mind that mental health and violence are always linked.

Government plans to replace the existing Mental Health Act could provide the opportunity for a sea-change, but only if the criteria for detention are tightened up and rights to quality care when requested are improved.

As it stands, the government's draft Mental Health Bill is likely to significantly increase the use of compulsory powers".