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Time to Talk?

6 March 2019

Ranjit Thaliwal, mental health law solicitor at Thaliwal & Veja Solicitors, talked to BBC Radio Nottingham about the legalities of sectioning for Time to Talk Day.

Ranjit ThaliwalThe Time to Change campaign hosted Time to Talk Day on Thursday 7 February 2019.

It was a fantastic opportunity to focus on and raise awareness of mental health issues, which affect one in four individuals. 

The ability to speak openly, have dialogue and seek support remains very important in this particular area.

It is vital to continue the journey of awareness, which has been progressed by many mental health charitable organisations, including the Time to Change campaign, Mind, Rethink and many others.

This awareness highlights and places the spotlight on the area of mental health, which is often an area not given the attention and exposure it requires.

It was fantastic to have the opportunity to talk on the radio with BBC Radio Nottingham, where we discussed the powers of the Mental Health Act, which allows an individual to be detained by force.

A mental health tribunal can take place where there is a full review as to the detention and whether it is justified.

The reach and impact of mental health issues is wide-ranging and can affect the whole spectrum of the community, having no economic or cultural barriers.

Mental health issues can affect adolescents through to the elderly, and those in any demographic group.

One of the tragic consequences of mental health issues is the loss of life and Samaritans have done some excellent work in this area, providing proactive support and raising awareness on this fundamental issue.

Suicide figures for the UK and the Republic of Ireland indicate that there are 6,230 suicides per year and that in the UK, men are three times more likely to take their lives than women.

It is significant to know that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 years of age, with over 80 men taking their own lives every week.

Therefore, the issue of awareness, support and talking through matters remains fundamental to pick up on any difficulties that may exist.

Regarding those who are encountering difficulties, the mechanisms to pick up those problems are available through frontline services, such as your GP.

When a person has no previous admissions, the difficulties and issues are brought to the attention by concerns expressed by family members, neighbours and those who have contact with the individual concerned.

When a person has a previous mental health history, they may be under an aftercare package of support where different layers of follow up can be provided, to those in the home environment.

This may involve visitation by a community psychiatric nurse, social worker, outreach and outpatient appointments.

Therefore, it can hopefully be understood that support is there, but the biggest gap can often be about those who are not reaching out for help or those who are not known to mental health services.

The area of mental health law and, in particular, those detained under the Mental Health Act, retains an element of confusion and mystique with many myths perpetuating the area.

Sadly, there is no doubt that talking about mental health matters helps to break down these boundaries and the social media campaigns by many excellent organisations, as above, have helped in this journey of growing awareness in the community.

Mental health matters and its impact is far reaching, but hopefully the growing awareness will be an important factor in helping to support those who are in need.