Call to Action Leaflet

- End Disability Discrimination in Mental Health Act
We think that the Mental Health Act discriminates against people with Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and leads to inappropriate `treatment` with antipsychotic and other powerful drugs which are known to shorten the lifespan and are particularly damaging to the health of people with ASD.

Will you give your support to Autism Rights' call for an end to the inclusion of people with Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) within the provisions of the Mental Health Act?

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on its Mental Health Strategy. Although this does not include a review of the Mental Health Act itself, this is something that the consultation may consider as part of the 4-year strategy.

Autism Rights believes it is time to call for an end to the inclusion of people with Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorders within the provisions of the Act, and is supported in this by one of the recommendations of the Millan Committee (which was formed 10 years ago to make recommendations for the 2003 Mental Health Act), the McManus Review of 2009 (which re-iterated that recommendation) and the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee, who also supported this measure. Added to this, a number of organisations submitted evidence to the Millan Committee and to the consultation on the McManus Review, making the same call for action.

There is no mention of this issue within the current consultation papers on the Mental Health Strategy, and we feel very strongly that there should be. Will you help us persuade the Scottish Government to move this forward by joining with Autism Rights in calling for amendments to the Mental Health Act, or to a Review of the Act with a mind to see the Act amended within an acceptable timescale? There needs to be a much greater impetus given to the need for amendment of the Act, as the Millan Committee reported to the Scottish Executive 10 years ago.

Autism Rights is supporting families who are battling to disentangle their adult sons from the mental health system, where they should never have been placed. We know that one of the main reasons that adults with ASD end up ensnared within the mental health system is because there are no appropriate services for them in Scotland, even today. Too often the `challenging behaviours` that are a consequence of years of incompetent service provision are seen as mental health problems and an inevitable part of having autism.

The current consultation on a Mental Health Strategy offers a golden opportunity, which will not arise again in the near future, to lobby the Scottish Parliament and Government to put in place the necessary amendments to the Mental Health Act.

Please contact us to indicate your support, so that we may add your voice to our call for action. Email us at

Further information is available on our website.
`Equal Rights – Not Endless Fights`