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Evaluation of the Mental Health Act 2007

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Policy
Wordcount: 2522 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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This report will consist of secondary research taken from government websites, newspaper articles and books. This piece of legislation has been chosen as it has a personal background to do with mental health and may help towards further studies, for example when studying at University. It has been asked that research on a legislation act is undertaken, this research should include background knowledge, how it has changed, why it changed and how it has helped people.

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The research for this report will be taken from websites including government, charity websites and newspaper articles online. Books were considered however, after much deliberation it was found that books aren’t always reliable as legislation always changes, the books aren’t kept up to date quick enough which could jeopardize the researches validity. Although not all websites accessed were used, it gave a better understanding when looking around the subject.


The Mental Health Act 2007 is an amendment from the Mental Health Act 1983. This is because many thought that the legislation in place was outdated and needed to be more modern with the changed times.

Before the Mental Health Act 1983 there was the Mental Health Act 1959. This was the first amendment and the first repeal since the mental illness and mental deficiency acts of 1953-1957. The change meant that a person could be admitted voluntarily rather than forced. Also more procedures take place to determine the stage in a persons metal disorder.

Learning disabilities are not included under mental health guidelines. This was because a learning disability is a disorder in which a person has lower abilities when it comes to education and learning.

Those who are addicted to alcohol and drugs are not classed as those with ill mental health. These are addictions, not a disorder of the brain where the chemicals are unbalanced leading to a breakdown in communication within the brain.

Things from the 1983 act have changed in the 2007 act whilst some have stayed the same. This happens when a piece of legislation is amended. The bits that are outdated are changed to suit the modern times.

The mental health act is a complex and covers a lot of different aspects. The Mental Health Act also links with other legislations. Other than just being associated with the one act, there are many others that can come under the same umbrella. All of which can help a person get the right help.


The mental health act 2007 an amendment act from the Mental health Act of 1983. The MHA 1983 would affect the care and treatment of those who were classed as mentally disordered including the management of their properties and personal items. According to legislation.gov.uk, “mental disorder” means any disorder or disability of the mind. However, a person with a learning disability could not be considered suffering a mental disorder. This was because “learning disability” means a state of little of no development of the mind, this includes intelligence and social functions. A mental health problem can affect anyone at any time and may be treated with medication or therapy. A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities. For example, simple tasks at home, socialising or money management which affects someone for their whole life. Those who suffered from mental disorder were thought to require treatment in hospitals, unless they were overly aggressive and/or irresponsible for their actions.

The mental health act 1983 came after the Mental Health Act 1959 which came about after deliberations of the Royal Commission of the Law which related to mental illness and mental deficiency 1953-1957. This derives from the Lunacy and Mental Treatment Acts 1890-1930 and the Mental Deficiency Acts 1913-1938. However, as these no longer showed modern attitudes and the commissions recommended a change. These changes included treatment in and out of hospital should be given voluntarily and on an informal basis; that a proper provision should be made for the residual category of cases where it was a compulsory sectioning, either in the interests of the patient, or in the interests of society;  and that the Act should be seen against the background of the desirability of shifting the emphasis in mental cases from institutional care, to care within the community.

The Mental Health Act 1983 was amended to make it easier when detaining and treating those who are or were mentally ill, a danger to themselves and/or the public and to make it harder to treat and detain those who are not dangerous to others or those who are untreatable (quora.com)

The Mental Health Act 1959 came into place on 1 November 1960 and repealed the earlier Acts. It broke down the distinction between patients by the use of one term “mental disorder”,  it made voluntary admission to hospital part of the normal course of events removed statutory control from the majority of mentally disordered persons, it provided a balanced system for the protection and control of the remaining minority. Also, it ensured that a mentally disordered person could benefit from general health and social service facilities by providing that existing legislation should apply to them, to get rid of the idea that mental patients are any different from any other types of sick people (The National Archives).

The dependence of alcohol or drugs was not considered to be a disability or disorder of the mind. This is because these are addictions and not disorder of the brain.

Though some things have stayed the same since the Mental health Act 1983, some have also changed. These include how a mental disorder is defined, who the professionals are their specific roles within the Act, additional rights for a patient to displace their nearest relative, how specific treatment is defined, and when it can be administered, the introduction of Supervised Community Treatment (SCT) and Community Treatment Orders (CTOs), the right for patients to have an advocate and changes about how Mental Health Review Tribunals operate (Mental Health Wales).

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As well The Mental Health Act 1983, many other legislations link well when it comes to a person’s rights when in hospital. For example, the Equality Act 2010, the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Care Act 2014 (England only), the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act 2018. This makes the legislation of The Mental Health Act complex and covers a lot more than just that of the mental health of a person (Mind.co.uk). When a person is admitted to a hospital, they are now assessed using many of the above legislations to get them the best care possible. It would be impossible to help a person using just the one piece of legislation.
The Mental Health Act 2007 was passed by Gordon Brown who was the Prime Minister at the time leading the Labour government. Labours approach on mental health is different to that of the conservative party. For example, it could be suggested that the Conservative party believes that every person should fend for themselves whereas Labour believe that everyone should work together to make a better society. Improving the quality of mental health services will take time, commitment and a lot of money. However, it is believed it would be money well spent; research from the LSE estimates the yearly cost of mental health to our economy at around £105 billion (Mind.co.uk).

The charity Mind fund their own health services, which provides advise and support to anyone who experiences a mental health problem. Workers support over 513,000 people who are suffering in the UK. Services include crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, and housing as well as counselling. Their services provide an extra £37 billion for the NHS by the end of the next Parliament. This would not only provide the needed funds for mental health services but would also ensure that the NHS would no longer need to dig into the mental health budget. Priorities would be made to budget for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services so that money reaches those in emergency need first (Mind.co.uk).


This report has consisted of research taken from government websites, newspaper articles online and charity websites. This piece of legislation was chosen as it has personal links with mental health and may help towards further studies, for example when studying at University. It was requested that research on a piece legislation was undertaken, this research includes background knowledge, how it has changed, why it changed and how it has helped people.

From the research conducted, it is clear that the Mental Health Act 2007 was in fact an amendment of the Mental Health Act 1983. It is also clear that not only the government have their hands in the development of treatment and services available to those who are in need. Charities such as Mind and The Samaritans also help sufferers by raising awareness and funding to do so.




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