Removing people with intellectual disabilities and autism from the England and Wales Mental Health Act

John L. Taylor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

In its White Paper entitled Reforming the Mental Health Act, 1 which was presented to Parliament in January, 2021, the UK Government indicated its intention to revise the England and Wales Mental Health Act 1983 (hereafter termed the Act) such that autism and intellectual disability—referred to as learning disability in the Act—will no longer be considered mental disorders that warrant compulsory treatment under Section 3 of the Act. People with such conditions can be detained under Section 3 only if they have a mental health condition other than intellectual disability or autism that is “driving abnormally aggressive behaviour or seriously irresponsible conduct” that results in a “substantial risk of significant harm to self or others”. These proposed changes will apply only for patients who are subject to civil detentions for treatment under the Act. People with intellectual disability or autism who are accused or convicted of crimes will still be liable to detention under the criminal sections of the Act.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-190
Number of pages3
JournalThe Lancet Psychiatry
Volume9
Issue number3
Early online date17 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

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