Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

The review has now concluded.

Read the final report and recommendations.

Purpose of the review

The review was set up to look at how the legislation in the Mental Health Act 1983 is used and how practice can improve. The purpose of the review is to understand the reasons for:

  • rising rates of detention under the Act
  • the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under the Act
  • processes that are out of step with a modern mental health care system

The review will seek the views of service users, carers, relevant professionals, and affected organisations in producing recommendations. It will produce a report with recommendations for change in autumn 2018.

Terms of reference

Further information



  • Professor Sir Simon Wessely – Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London and president of the Royal Society of Medicine

Vice chairs

  • Steven Gilbert – service user and serious mental health living consultant
  • Sir Mark Hedley – retired high court judge
  • Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger – former CEO of the King’s Fund and Chair of the Liverpool Care Pathway Review


The advisory panel will bring together stakeholders with an interest in the Mental Health Act and its application. For more information about the advisory panel see the document below.

The working group will deliver the direction set by the review’s leadership and advisory panel, supporting the development of recommendations. For more information about the working group see the document below.

The service user and carer group reflects the views and experiences of people who have been detained (‘sectioned’) under the Act, or cared for people who have been. For more information about the service user and carer group see the document below.

The African and Caribbean group will make recommendations designed to ensure that people of African and Caribbean descent with mental health challenges:

  • receive the treatment and support they need, when and where they need it
  • are treated with dignity, and that their liberty and autonomy are respected as far as possible

For more information about the African and Caribbean group see the document below.

The evidence and analysis group will provide expert analytical advice to the chair and advisory panel. For more information about the evidence and analysis group see the document below.

Interim report - 1 May 2018

This is a summary of the review’s work so far. Easy Read and British Sign Language versions are also available

Topic groups

Following the publication of the review’s interim report in May, topic groups were established to carry out detailed work to inform the review’s final recommendations to government. Each group was comprised of a small group of experts, including professionals and those with lived experience of the Mental Health Act, and was tasked with exploring the main issues set out in the interim report.

The topic groups submitted their findings on 14 September for the review’s leadership, Professor Sir Simon Wessely and his co-chairs, to inform their final recommendations to government.

Topic group chairs

Contact details