The Consortium has responded to the Scottish Mental Health Law Review Consultation on Additional Proposals, focusing on the importance of independent advocacy for those affected by mental health issues.
The initial consultation on proposed changes to mental health and incapacity law closed in May 2022, but the Scottish Mental Health and Incapacity Law Review team have put forward some additional proposals for further changes, in a consultation which closed on the 22nd July. These additional proposals focus mainly on improving access to independent advocacy. Currently, only around 5% of people entitled to independent advocacy actually receive it, due to a lack of understanding of what the service is, a lack of funding for organisations which supply independence advocacy, and confusion amongst health and social care staff about who can access the service.
The Consortium welcomed this opportunity to emphasise the importance of independent advocacy for those affected by mental health issues. Access to independent advocates is crucial for those whose rights are at risk, to help them participate in decisions made about their lives and seek justice if their rights are violated. Independent advocates help to address the power imbalance within the mental health system between professionals and patients, and help people to navigate the many complex systems they might face in order to secure their rights.
Therefore, we strongly support the Additional Proposal to ensure there is consistency in access to independent advocacy, and to widen access to this crucial service to everyone who needs it.