Alliance policies: Definition of mental disorder and Exclusions

The Draft Mental Health Bill defined mental disorder as "an impairment of, or a disturbance in, the functioning of the mind or brain resulting from any disability or disorder of the mind or brain". There were no exclusions to this definition.

The Government intends to retain the broad definition of mental disorder as it amends the 1983 Act, whilst retaining the exclusions in that Act for substance and alcohol dependence. It also intends to retain the current provisions for people with learning disability.

The Alliance accepts a broad definition of mental disorder but only if accompanied by extremely tight conditions and limitations - including exclusions. We are concerned that the Government is proposing to remove most of the current exclusions criteria. Mental health legislation should ensure that no one is made subject to the Act solely on the grounds of alcohol or drug dependence; sexual behaviour or orientation; or commission, or likely commission, of illegal or disorderly acts.

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