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.
On 6th July, the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill passed through the House of Commons.
The Bill is known as Seni’s Law, named after a young black man called Seni Lewis who died in a mental health unit after being physically restrained. If it becomes law, it will limit the use of force in mental health units by:
- increase training in de-escalation techniques
- ensure that every use of restraint is recorded
- require that every mental health unit has a policy on use of restraint, and that all patients know this policy
- make sure that an independent review is automatically triggered whenever anyone is harmed by the use of restraint
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 through the House of Commons.
Now the Bill will progress to the House of Lords. There is still more work to do, and we might need your support along the way, but passing through the House of Commons is a huge step to making Seni’s Law become reality.
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.
We need to make sure Seni's Law goes through parliament, in order to limit the use of dangerous forms of restraint.
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.