Allow urgent medical help for a mentally ill person, without obtaining their adult consent

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Minxy’s Law

A week ago today my brother took his own life, aged 46, after silently suffering from depression for over 30 years. This tragic end to life could have been avoided if the healthcare system in the UK had listened to the desperate pleas for help from our family.

Every year thousands of people are dying needlessly due to a broken system of care. Despite my mother begging for help, right up until the day he died, the doctors and the crisis team refused to help my brother. Without question, their failure to act resulted in the death of my brother.

Legally, the doctors and the crisis team in the UK cannot take action to assist an adult suffering from a mental illness unless one of the following criteria applies to their individual situation:

  • The person must actively seek medical help themselves; consciously recognising that they have a mental health issue and need assistance
  • The person must commit a violent act in a public place towards another person
  • The person must already have a recognised previous mental health problem
  • The person must not be abiding in their own home

In my brother's case:

  • He didn’t realise his problems needed urgent help
  • He never committed a violent act
  • He didn’t have a previous documented mental health issue
  • He was living at his home address (not out on the street)

In our family we have three trained medical professionals who clearly recognised his signs of depression and the obvious red warning flags. My brother become withdrawn; he stopped socialising, he stopped communicating with friends and family, he stopped working, he went missing for a period of time, and we knew he needed assistance.

Our family explored every avenue to try and help my brother. In an effort to try and understand the situation, our family also intercepted his mail and discovered he was no longer able to manage his day-to-day finances, which clearly added to his stress. The tragedy is, our family tried to ring the financial institutions to make them aware of the situation, but the banks were unable to discuss the subject or take any action unless my brother contacted them himself due to Data Protection Legislation. This therefore became a vicious circle, because my brother was unable to manage his daily finances due to his depression, and this inevitably further added to his stress and deteriorated his condition.

In summary, this whole situation is so tragic and so avoidable. This restriction on seeking help needs to! Someone suffering from a deep depression is in no fit state to ask for help.

Let's try and take action to help STOP more families losing loved ones unnecessarily.

Let's start listening to a desperate mother's cries for help when she knows her son is in imminent danger of hurting himself.

Let's change the law so people are able to get mental health/medical assistance for an adult family member without obtaining their express consent. There HAS to be something more that can be done.

Please sign this petition to raise awareness for this very important cause.