Mental health bill makes further progress
The Mental Health (Anti-Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill, which has already passed all its stages in the House of Commons, received its second reading in the House of Lords. The bill continues to enjoy all-party support and there were no votes against.
The bill would repeal four pieces of legislation that prevent people with mental health problems from participating fully in society. It would:
• repeal section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983, under which a member of the House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland Assembly automatically loses their seat if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for more than six months
• amend the Juries Act 1974 to remove the blanket ban on “mentally disordered persons” undertaking jury service • amend the Companies (Model Articles) Regulations 2008 which states that a person might cease to be a director of a public or private company “by reason of their mental health”
• amend the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2007 so that individuals who have been detained under the Mental Health Act are no longer prevented from being school governors.
Replying to this afternoon’s debate, Lord Wallace of Saltaire said: “Shifting public behaviour and public attitudes requires a major, substantial and sustained change in the public at large—in effect, a wide social movement. Organisations representing the interests of people with mental health conditions are campaigning to inspire people to work together to end discrimination surrounding mental health.
“Like the noble Lord, Lord Ryder, I pay tribute to the brilliant work of Mind and Rethink Mental Illness on their anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change. I therefore agree strongly with my noble friend Lord Stevenson that this is an opportunity to make legislative changes and to give a powerful and symbolic statement that discrimination against mental health is no longer acceptable.”