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End preventable deaths of people in mental health services: HELP BREAK THE SILENCE TODAY

This petition had 305 supporters

There were a devastating 3,160 AVOIDABLE DEATHS by suicide, neglect and misadventure reported by Mental Health Trusts in 2015-16, uncovered by the recent BBC Panorama documentary on failing mental health services in England .

This means 3,160 people HAVE DIED UNNECESSARILY FROM POOR CARE AND TREATMENT they received from mental health services in England in just the last year alone. It is heart-breaking because these are people who could have been helped to recover and return to their lives. But they no longer have that chance. 

Since 2013 there have been more than 50,000 detentions under the Mental Health Act ANNUALLY, a shocking statistic. Being detained is the most restrictive option in mental health treatment and means that people who are detained can be given treatment without their consent and are often deprived of their liberty during their detention. It is a time when a person's human rights become vital.

Many of those who suffered avoidable deaths last year would have been detained under the Mental Health Act, which is meant to safeguard a person’s treatment and care when used properly.  

However, the Care Quality Commision's Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2015-2016 report found:

" fewer than half of the wards looked at from September 2015 to April 2016 had provided staff with any form of training on the revised Mental Health Act Code of Practice, or updated their policies and procedures to reflect the new guidance."

"Particular concerns include staff not providing patient-centered care, staff not fully respecting people’s rights, and people not being fully involved in decisions about their treatment and support."

Even more alarmingly, research shows that for almost 20% people detained there was no record at all of being informed of their legal right to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) to help a patient have a voice and real influence in their mental health treatment and care decisions. An Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) supports people who are detained because of their mental health, by explaining their rights and choices in their treatment and supporting a person to have their wishes included in decisions about them. 

Access to the IMHA service was made a legal duty in 2009 as a safeguard for everyone who is detained. IMHA has the power to improve treatment and care outcomes for patients and provide vital support to patients when they may be at their most vulnerable because of severe mental illness. 

Access to IMHA is now more crucial than ever for people who are detained - with the unsafe levels of staff training on patient involvement identified by the CQC, it is vital that Independent Mental Health Advocacy is available to EVERYONE who is detained or receiving treatment as an inpatient in mental health services.



In light of the CQC findings and our research among patients, IMHA services and mental health services, we are calling on the government to vitally reform Independent Mental Health Advocacy to make sure:

a) Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) is made fully accessible and works for all people who are inpatients in mental health services and in the community receiving treatment under the Mental Health Act to help END AVOIDABLE DEATHS IN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES.   

b) IMHA workers and services are supported to carry out their role safely and effectively.

We are asking you to sign this petition to help us achieve these aims by asking the government to:

1) Ensure that the IMHA SERVICE IS MADE OPT-OUT FOR ALL NHS INPATIENTS - Access to IMHA for both detained and voluntary inpatients receiving treatment under the Mental Health Act  must be offered to patients directly by IMHA services themselves, not by staff of mental health services. All inpatients must be accessible by the IMHA service directly in order that support available for being involved in decisions about their treatment and care can be offered without a conflict of interest.

2) Regulate all IMHA services. IMHA workers and services are currently not regulated. This must change to provide a safe and effective IMHA service. 

3) Work with IMHA Society, patients, IMHA services and key stakeholders to reform training, monitoring and evaluation. Current training, monitoring and evaluation does not go far enough and does not fully equip IMHA workers or services to make sure they are providing a safe and effective service.   

4) Ensure Independent Mental Health Advocacy is fully independent of all statutory and private mental health services in order to legitimately safeguard a person's rights and for this to be made legal requirement for all IMHA services. 

The government has a clear responsibility to provide an impartial, safe and effective independent mental health advocacy service. With your support we can urge them to take forward these vital reforms for the good of the most vulnerable in society who are subject to treatment under the Mental Health Act. Please help us to achieve this by signing this petition and supporting us today at

CQC Monitoring the Mental Health Act in 2015/16

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