Michael Stone Inquiry: lessons should be learned says Mental Health Alliance

25 September 2006

"People should not be turned away when they seek help from mental health services," the Mental Health Alliance said today.

Responding to the report on the Inquiry into the deaths of Lin and Megan Russell, the 78 member coalition said:

"Michael Stone had a range of mental health and substance misuse problems. He sought help, but was lost between health, criminal justice and substance misuse services. This is an all too common problem. Homicides by people with severe mental health problems are rare. In many cases, inquiries have found that the homicide could have been prevented if there was better co-ordination between services, and if the families seeking help had been listened to.

"The government’s amendment to the Mental Health Act should give people the right to be assessed and treated when they request it - as now applies in Scotland. It should not create extra powers to impose treatment that will not benefit the person. This will not reduce risk, and will drive people away from the services they need.

"Better services, properly funded with more effort to intervene early and improve joint working around users’ needs are key to reducing risk. No legislation can ever prevent all tragedies from happening. We can learn lessons when they do, and respond appropriately."

For further information contact Deborah Hart or Thomas Kennedy on tel: 020 235 2351 exts. 127 or 164; e-mail: dhart@rcpsych.ac.uk or tkennedy@rcpsych.ac.uk.

We have a briefing paper on the Michael Stone case. You can download it below.

Download the Michael Stone briefing paper - 18 KB