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Mental Health Webinar Series

Mental Health and COVID-19: The risks to human rights    

22 September 2020

11:00 - 12:00 GMT

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Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE

Mental Health Foundation


Andy Bell

Deputy Chief Executive
Centre for Mental Health


Daniel Dalton

Clinical Advisor for Mental Health
NHS England & Improvement


Dr Kevin Cleary

Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals and Lead for Mental Health

Care Quality Commission

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Dr Andrew Hider

Clinical Director and Consultant Forensic Psychologist
Ludlow Street Healthcare

Human rights are central to proper mental health care and treatment. Legally, people working in public service, “public officials” (such as NHS staff, local authority staff and the police), have to protect, respect and fulfil your human rights in all of their decisions and actions. This duty to uphold human rights has not changed during the Covid-19 pandemic. This duty to protect human rights is as important as ever, as services are facing increased stress due to the pandemic.

Covid-19 has meant that many of the support networks that we all used to use no longer exist in the same way. Added to this some of the changes to mental health law affect the safeguards put in place for people who are receiving mental health care and treatment. For example, changes to the way mental health tribunals are being held in Wales and England.  However, any changes that are made to existing laws, even if temporary still need to be compatible with our human rights law. The emergency laws for the Covid-19 period to not provide and opt-out of human rights laws. This means that it is more important than ever that both staff and people accessing mental health services know about human rights and the legal duties of public officials to protect, respect and fulfil them.

It is important for all of use to know that our human rights must still be respected, protected and fulfilled during all of our interactions with public services. This webinar is designed to provide policy makers and the wider health community with the latest evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and how to address it.

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