Always - Helping To Get Children Home From Mental Health Hospitals

Always - Helping To Get Children Home From Mental Health Hospitals

Good inpatient care acts as a lifeline to many young people with mental health problems. But in some cases, young people can be trapped in inappropriate hospitals or be subjected to dangerous forms of restraint. Help us change this.

Why we’re campaigning

Good inpatient care acts as a lifeline to many young people with mental health problems, who get the expert support they need to get better and return home.

But for others, including some with autism or a learning disability, their mental health can get worse in hospital and they and their families can struggle to get the help that is right for them.

In some cases, young people can be trapped in inappropriate hospitals for years, or be subjected to long-term seclusion or dangerous forms of restraint.

Alongside The National Autistic Society, we are calling for stronger rights for young people and their families, so that they always receive care and support that’s appropriate for them.

Seni's Law

On 1st November, the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act – also known as Seni’s Law – became law. 

The law is named after a young black man called Seni Lewis who died in a mental health unit after being physically restrained. It will transform the lives of young people in inpatient care, by ensuring:

  • Any use of force is recorded – which will improve accountability and transparency about how often force is used and who it is used on.  
  • Better training for staff, including on de-escalation methods, and the psychological impact of force on a patient.
  • Improved transparency through every mental health unit having to publish a policy on the use of force, including what steps that hospital will take to reduce the use of force.
  • Increased accountability with a designated person being responsible for the implementation of the policy on the use of force within each hospital.
  • Clear communication of information to children, young people, parents and carers about how the use of force will be managed and recorded at the hospital.    

We’ve been working very closely with Steve Reed MP, the MP of the Lewis family, and many other charities to ensure that this Bill is the best it can be and are delighted that it has passed. 

This is an amazing achievement, and follows more than a year of campaigning and many more years of trying to ensure that the voices of young people in inpatient care are listened to.

Did you know?

  • 44% of parents have felt unable to challenge decisions about their child’s treatment, while 52% do not know what rights their child has or they have while in hospital.
  • Only 43% of parents think that their child’s mental health has improved while in hospital. A quarter (24%) think that their child’s mental health has deteriorated a lot.
  • Face-down restraint – the most dangerous form of restraint – was used more than 2,500 times on young people in inpatient care in 2014-15.

Our solution

We're delighted that due to campaigning from Steve Reed MP, the family of Seni Lewis and many other charities, Seni's Law has now become law. Seni's Law will reduce the amount of harmful restraint used in inpatient care. 

We are also calling on the Government to set out strong, enforceable rights to protect children in mental health hospitals, and their families, when they need it most.

We have worked with young people who have experienced inpatient care, and their families, to develop the Always Charter. The charter sets out the principles that mental health hospitals should always practice.

Over 10,000 people signed our petition calling on the government to make sure that these principles are reflected in mental health policy, which was handed in to Government on 3rd November 2017.

But, with the Mental Health Act under review, there is much more to do. Sign up here to get updates on the campaign – and on how you can get involved.

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