Mental Health Bill makes progress

A private member’s bill that would repeal laws preventing people with mental health problems from serving as MPs, school governors, jurors or company directors received its second reading in the Commons today (14 September).

The Mental Health (Discrimination) Bill is sponsored by Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central. Opening the debate today he said:

"My Bill's purpose is very simple: to tackle the last legal form of discrimination in our society.

"To our shame the law of the land still discriminates against those with a mental health condition. An MP or a company director can be removed from their job because of mental ill health even if they go on to make a full recovery. Many people who are fully capable of performing jury service are ineligible to do so.

"The law as it stands sends out a clear message that if someone has a mental health condition, their contribution to public life is not welcome. That is an affront to a decent civilised society."

Nigel Atter, the Society’s Acting Director of Policy says:

“Everyone working in the field of psychology will welcome the progress of this Bill, unopposed, through to committee stage in the House of Commons. The openness of the debate shows the human side of this issue, helps breakdown the long-held stigma and shows that the time is ripe for a change in the law to end discrimination.”

You can read more reaction to today’s vote on the Mind website.