Discursive of Tunbridge Wells

Podcast: Against Your Will – Compulsory Powers in the Mental Health System


Podcast: Against Your Will – Compulsory Powers in the Mental Health System

John McGowan, Anne Cooke, Angela Gilchrist,  Rachel Terry and Emma Rye discuss involuntary treatment in mental health.


In this edition we discuss the compulsory powers available in the mental health system in the UK These include the Mental Capacity Act and the Mental Health Act (MHA). The regular panel is joined by Emma Rye, a Clinical Psychologist working in in the field of learning disabilities. Emma is currently in training to take up the role of a ‘Responsible Clinician’ under the MHA. We also have interviews with Dr Matthew Debenham, an NHS psychiatrist, and with service users Rai Waddingham and Raza Griffiths, both of whom discuss how compulsory powers were used in their own treatment.

As the Prime Minister has recently said she would like to ‘rip up’ the Mental Act (see below) our panel also offer Theresa May advice on what to replace it with.

A transcript of this discussion is available here.

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Links to things we talked about on this show:

A brief overview of the 2007 overhaul of the 1983 Mental Health Act. This 2007 update is still the dominant legislative framework today…

… and the Mental Health Act Code of Practice, intended to provide a guide for professionals, service users and carers on the operation of this legislation.

A useful summary of the principles of the Mental Capacity Act, which allows people to make ‘unwise’ decisions: provided they have the capacity to do so.

Some information on Theresa May’s Mental Health Act announcement. A pledge to ‘rip it up’…
…and some suggestions for what might replace it.

You can follow Rai Waddingham on Twitter @RaiWaddingham and find a range of resources on her website.

A recent paper from the British Journal of Psychiatry suggesting that being admitted to a mental health ward may have negative consequences for suicidal risks.

This Guardian article offers a personal account by a nurse involved in compulsory treatment.

This short piece by legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg highlights some of the main issue in replacing European human rights legislation.

This small research study suggests quite mixed experience of involuntary detention and also addresses some of the issues in how to improve people’s experiences.

Please note The views and opinions expressed in this discussion are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the contributors’ employing organisations.

We’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with these laws and with compulsory treatment. Comments below are gratefully received. 

Producer: John McGowan
Additional technical support: Saul McGowan
Music: www.bensound.com/


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Comment on “Podcast: Against Your Will – Compulsory Powers in the Mental Health System

  1. Interesting folks. Or what I’ve heard of it is. Having done a couple of stints working in wards I think it’s easy to get kind of blunted to the possible effects of using The Act. I kind of stopped for now in the first service user interview. She speaks calmly but sheesh… Tough stuff.

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