NYAS has today responded to the Mental Health Act Reform White Paper, calling for children and young people’s voices to be heard and their rights respected.

Reforming the Mental Health Act presents a unique opportunity to enhance support for those in need whilst improving access to advocacy services.

The White Paper has proposed many recommendations that could strengthen people’s rights when they need it most, including:

  • Giving individuals the autonomy and legal weight to make choices and preferences about their care and treatment.
  • Choosing which family member, or friend, can be involved in their care.
  • Providing culturally sensitive advocacy services.
  • More opportunities for tribunals to discharge people, scrutinise and make certain changes to their care.

We have emphasised how, too often, mental health needs go unrecognised within wider care environments and, like their adult counterparts, young people deserve to have their voices heard and their needs respected.

Throughout the consultation, we have repeated our ‘Looked After Minds’ campaign call for all children and young people receiving any tier of mental health support to have an active (opt-out) offer of independent advocacy services. This crucial safeguard could guarantee their right to have their wishes and feelings taken into account in decisions made about them, help them to navigate the system and their treatment options, and ensure accountability between services and service users.

Click here to read our full submission.