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Learning Disability and the Mental Health Act (Rescheduled)

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Room 3/11, Edinburgh Napier University, Craiglockhart Campus

219 Colinton Road

Edinburgh

EH14 1DJ

United Kingdom

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Speakers: Dr Ailsa Stewart (University of Strathclyde), Dr Gillian MacIntyre (University of Strathclyde), Dr Fergus Douds (State Hospital), Colin McKay (Mental Welfare Commission)

In 2001 the Millan Report recommended that ‘there should be an expert review at an early date of the position of learning disability within mental health law’. At the passing of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015 such a review had yet to take place. There is, nevertheless, continued support for the removal of learning disability from the definition of mental disorder under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. It is argued that as learning disability is a lifelong condition which cannot be cured, people with learning disability should not be subject to compulsory treatment and that its inclusion maintains the stigma often associated with learning disability. Alternatively, it is contended that removal from the definition would mean people with learning disabilities are left without access to the treatment they require and that those who commit criminal offences would be subject to disposals such as prison, rather than the alternatives provided under the mental health system.


In 2015 the Scottish Government committed to undertaking the long awaited review, and in January 2017 published an initial scoping exercise carried out by the Mental Welfare Commission and the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability.

In light of these developments, this seminar will explore how people with learning disabilities experience mental health legislation and the arguments in favour of and against retaining learning disability within the definition of mental disorder.

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Room 3/11, Edinburgh Napier University, Craiglockhart Campus

219 Colinton Road

Edinburgh

EH14 1DJ

United Kingdom

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