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Campaigner calls for dramatic mental health changes

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

BILL OF RIGHTS:  Ben Bamber is fighting to bring the UK in line with the UN declaration.

BILL OF RIGHTS: Ben Bamber is fighting to bring the UK in line with the UN declaration.

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A MENTAL health campaigner is looking to shake-up the system as part of his bid to make sure the UK is compliant with United Nations recommendations.

Ben Bamber, 38, who lives in Montpellier Villas in Cheltenham, has launched Mental Health Manifesto, a campaign which he hopes will improve people's awareness of a declaration made by the UN in 2008.

The declaration sets out the rights of mental health patients with regard to detainment and forced treatment.

He said: "The issue for me is that this declaration has not been publicised properly and a lot of patients don't know about it.

"A lot of the people I have spoken to have never heard of it.

"But this is the biggest step forward in mental health. It is on a par with the Suffragette movement."

Mr Bamber has come up with his own proposals he believes would make the UK compliant.

They include taking the current mental health detainment process out of the hands of doctors and into the hands of a qualified magistrate.

He wants to find out views his ideas.

He said: "I want to spread the word and find out about how patients feel about this."

Visit www.mentalhealthmanifesto.blogspot. co.uk for more.

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  • Ipaytax  |  November 24 2012, 1:22PM

    How would the magistrate make a decision on the mental health of a person as they are not mental health professionals. Would it be on the recommendation of the GP and crisis team? Would magistrates be on call 24/7 with the resultant costs? It's hard enough getting the Crisis Team to attend out of hours as they are so under resourced let alone adding another level of bureaucracy. At the moment it is left to the Police in many cases to section people under s.136 of the mental Health Act. Off they go to Wotton Lawn where they are sent away a few hours later in most cases to carry on where they left off! Proper 24hr mental health provision is needed with facilities to take those being aggressive/violent. At the moment these end up in Police Cells which is the last place a person with mental health problems should be. The problem is this all takes money that this country hasn't got.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 24 2012, 11:32AM

    Police blamed by family for death of woman who jumped to death. http://tinyurl.com/cwda4k2

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  • Quick Type  |  November 23 2012, 4:37PM

    The UN Declaration doesn't mean that people can't be sectioned (like I said earlier). Also I think that people should be locked up after they've committed murder, not incase they do. Tough luck to anyone who thinks the mentally ill are all on the verge of a mad axe murder. They're not. And that's a fact.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 23 2012, 3:44PM

    The UN is a totally useless organisation and such declarations mean nothing - I have to agree with GlosAnarchy regards public safety being paramount. Regrettably you need to cut out an infected finger or two to save the person - likewise a few deranged harming themselves or being locked up is O.K by me. Individual rights - prisoners, mentally deranged or criminals - can rightfully curtailed if they pose a danger to the rest.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 23 2012, 3:35PM

    GlosAnarchy - you are lucky - just one signature will do for you.

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  • Quick Type  |  November 20 2012, 8:46PM

    There would be provision for late and weekend admissions. You really need to check your facts mate.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 20 2012, 8:22PM

    So how many doctors would you require to section someone or would you like that added to the work load of the county courts? So it's 1am on a Sunday morning one doctor on duty, phones around and can't get anyone else to come and help section a patient that is a clear threat to themselves, until Sunday lunch time, so they are sent home with the family as he can't section them by himself.... This is what YOU will get!

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  • Quick Type  |  November 20 2012, 6:52PM

    I know of plenty of examples of people who took their own lives whilst in hospital. Besides, implementing the UN Laws, doesn't mean for one minute that people won't get the help they need, nor does it mean that people who are presenting a clear danger to the public, won't get the help they need either. What it means is that one doctor cannot make a unilateral decision to section someone, or force treatment on them, whilst the system has barely any checks and balances, scrutinising those decisions.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  November 20 2012, 6:22PM

    @quick type - The reason is the crime or suicide doesn't happen in the first place. If you read this site on a weekly basis there have been several cases involving car parks and trains where the relatives have said that the mental health services had failed them as they had not forced treatment on their relatives. Do the names Tennyson Obih and Benjamin Frankum ring any bells?

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  • Quick Type  |  November 20 2012, 4:18PM

    I think you're reading too many tabloid newpapers and hollywood films. Killings are very rare, and no-one has ever stopped a suicide or a murder by locking people up before they commit a crime. It is this kind of attitude which mental health campaigners have tried hard to change. Just do some basic research and you'll realise how rare murders actually are. Plus I don't think pyromania is a mental illness, as far as I know.

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