Church of England Demands Changes to `Regressive' Mental Health Reforms ; MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN

By Goodchild, Sophie | The Independent on Sunday (London, England), March 2, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Church of England Demands Changes to `Regressive' Mental Health Reforms ; MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN


Goodchild, Sophie, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)


The Church of England has condemned the Government's Mental Health Bill which will lead to mentally ill people who have not committed a crime being locked up against their will.

Over 270 senior church leaders have given unanimous backing to a motion which brands the Bill's central provisions "unworkable and regressive" and "preoccupied with issues of public safety".

Last week, members of the General Synod, the Church of England's decision- making body, outlined their concerns over the proposed mental health reforms at their annual meeting in London.

They called on the Government to provide alternatives to prison for mentally ill offenders and legal protection for vulnerable patients incapable of choosing their own treatment.

This is the first time in eight years that the issue of mental health has been debated at the Synod. So concerned are its members that they now plan to lobby senior ministers at the Department of Health and the Home Office to amend the Bill.

The Ven Arthur Hawes, the Archdeacon of Lincoln, who opened the debate, said the Bill failed to recognise the link between social deprivation and mental illness.

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