4. Rights and Mental Health
The central importance of rights is embedded throughout the Mental Health Strategy and the delivery of all of its Actions. The importance of rights and equalities run through each of the other themes. This dedicated theme seeks to ensure that a rights and equalities-based approach is fully developed.
Working with the Mental Health Partnership of third sector mental health organisations, service providers, service users and professional bodies is key to our approach. Taking a collective leadership approach, we are working alongside stakeholders to identify priorities actions that would contribute to realising the rights of persons with a mental illness and co-ordinate collaborative action to deliver those priorities.
Assessing equality and human rights impacts
The Mental Health Strategy makes it clear that its vision and ambitions apply to all citizens of Scotland. Our human rights approach means that we will seek to address stigma and discrimination in all its forms and remove barriers that prevent people with a mental illness from reaching their full potential.
We are working with advocates for protected characteristic groups to review the equality impact assessment for the strategy. This will not only be an opportunity to consider the use and interpretation of the available evidence and data, but also a catalyst for improving links between organisations and individuals advocating for protected characteristic groups and Scottish Government officials as well as how we reach ‘hidden populations’ of service users. We will work with colleagues from the Scottish Government human rights team to ensure that we are fully considering the impact of human rights and taking appropriate action to ensure that individuals’ rights are fulfilled .
Mental Health and incapacity legislation and practice (Actions 32, 33, 34 and 35)
The public engagement phase of the independent review of whether the provisions in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 fulfil the needs of people with learning disability is underway (Action 33). The review involves people with an exceptionally wide range of communication abilities and has adopted a human rights approach to engagement. There is a strong emphasis on consulting with, and actively involving, persons with disabilities in this process and for engagement to be continuous across the review. This includes advisory groups consisting of professionals and people with lived experience. The independent review will report its findings at the end of 2019.
The Code of Practice for the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 is in the process of being revised, with rights at its heart. We will consult on the draft Code in early 2019, with it coming into effect by the end of that year.
The right to life is a basic human right. The protection of this right means ensuring the appropriate investigations into deaths, especially deaths in institutions. A review of the arrangements for investigating the deaths of patients who, at the time of death, were detained in hospital by virtue of a mental health order or admitted voluntarily to hospital for the purpose of receiving treatment for a mental disorder is underway. The review will conclude at the end of 2018.
A reform of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2007 is taking place and we will consult on proposals to reform the law on adults with incapacity with the aim of people receiving more support to make their own decisions and better access to the right care and support (Action 34).
A framework in practice for social work is exploring Mental Health Officer supply and demand to alleviate pressures. (Action 35).
Employment (Actions 36 and 37)
Everyone has the right to work and it is recognised that mental illness can be a barrier to employment. Work on employability innovation and integration funding is ongoing, with individual project leads meeting in December 2018. A Health and Safety Executive Health Summit on 1 November 2018 will consider a mentally healthy workplace as a key strand.
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