Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law: Fighting for Social Justice

Mental Illness Discrimination and the LawFelicity Callard et al

Wiley-Blackwell, £69.99

Mental illness continues to be highly stigmatised. Law can, if properly and appropriately applied and enforced, help to reduce stigma and improve the lives of people living with mental health problems. Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law seeks to introduce and summarise some of the key acts of legislation in the UK and abroad that are aiming to decrease discrimination.

Its origins lie in a report the authors produced for the Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes, which reviewed the range of legislative actions currently available to protect people with mental health problems.

The authors – a highly regarded collective of policy actors, mental health professionals, lawyers and social scientists – consulted a number of key informants in order to produce their report (and, consequently, this book). The latter third of the book reproduces some key acts, conventions and statements, and is a useful resource for students of mental health law, policy and ethics – perhaps especially for civil society groups who hope to (re)shape legislation. The diversity of legal edicts and policies from across the world is encouraging. However, as the authors point out, law does not always translate into practice and there is still considerable work to be done in order to foster equality and access to care.

Hopefully the publishers will release a cheaper paperback edition of Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law in order to better reach policy actors and campaigners.

Dr Martyn Pickersgill MSB