Mental Health Rights Scotland

campaigning for human rights in the mental health system

About Us

About Us
Mental Health Rights Scotland is an association of service users and carers who are campaigning for recognition of human rights in the Scottish mental health system.

In particular we are campaigning for fundamental reform of Scottish mental health and incapacity legislation to make it compatible with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This Article requires signatory states to ensure respect for legal capacity on an equal basis for all citizens regardless of their level of disability.

We or our families have suffered (in some cases terribly) by being 'sectioned' or subjected to compulsory treatment, on the opinion of a psychiatrist, without any test of the evidence by an impartial and independent court, the treatment being neither necessary nor proportionate in a democratic society.

Respect for legal capacity means that people with a mental impairment are able to have the same control over their lives and take the same risks as anyone without a mental impairment in the same circumstances. It means that they are supported to make their own decisions. It means that their Advance Statements, and the decisions made on their behalf by Attorneys or Guardians whom they have appointed and whom they trust, are respected and only over-ridden when there are compelling reasons for doing so. It means that when they are unable to make a decision for themselves there is an obligation to determine and put into effect the decision that person would have made if he/she did not have that mental impairment.

If the state could not lawfully interfere with the same decision when made by a person of sound mind in the same circumstances, it should not be lawful for it to interfere with the decision of the person with a mental impairment.

(Photo : Jacqueline Gale, who died in February 2016 while detained in hospital under a Compulsory Treatment Order issued to West Lothian Council / NHS Lothian.)

What We Do


We lobby the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, by attending cross-party meetings, face-to-face meetings with individual MSPs and Civil Servants, and by submitting and supporting petitions. We respond to consultations, and take part in demonstrations.


We conduct and commission research into the treatment of mental health patients and their carers, and into the law relating to mental incapacity. We comment on official reports, and analyse statistics relating to treatment under the Mental Health Act.

ADVICE AND SUPPORT (under development)

We provide general advice for those who become subject to the Mental Health and Adults with Incapacity Acts, such as recommendations of solicitors, independent psychiatrists and independent advocates. Where appropriate we may provide voluntary support or advice in individual cases, to those fighting against detention or compulsory treatment and those making complaints to the NHS or the Public Services Ombudsman.

NAMING AND SHAMING (under development)

We highlight cases in which the human rights of those with a mental disorder have been abused, particularly when justice has been denied by the ombudsman or the courts and tribunals. We also highlight cases of good practice.


Barry Gale

Chair (acting)


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Beverley Dick

Vice Chair (acting)


Past Events

Title Date Location
MHTS Members Conference 20 Nov 2019 Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, 36 Cambridge St, Glasgow G2 3HN
Third Sector Research Forum Conference 09 Oct 2019 COSLA Conference Centre, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH
Cross Party Group on Mental Health 24 Sep 2019 Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
Action on Elder Abuse National Conference 04 Sep 2019 Hilton Hotel, William Street, Glasgow G3 8HT
Mental Health Tribunals - Service Users and Carers Reference Group 28 Aug 2019 Fife - venue tba
The Future Direction – Focus on Rights and Detention 02 Jul 2019 Millennium Hotel Glasgow George Square Glasgow G2 1DS
Cross-Party Group on Mental Health 26 Jun 2019 Committee Room 6, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Social Care, Feminism, and Human Rights: Future Directions 25 Jun 2019 Glasgow Caledonian University Cowcaddens Road CEE4, Centre for Executive Education Glasgow G4 0BA
HRCS Members Roundtable Event 19 Jun 2019 Albany Centre, 44 Ashley Street, Glasgow G3 6DS
Alzheimer's Scotland Annual Conference 03 Jun 2019 EICC, The Exchange Edinburgh, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh, EH3 8EE
Cross Party Working Group on Autism 28 May 2019 Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, UK
Cross Party Working Group on Mental Health - POSTPONED 21 May 2019 Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, UK
Impact: 3rd Health & Care Social Integration Event 20 May 2019 Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, 301 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8DL
LSA Seminar : Essential Human Rights Case Law Update 16 May 2019 Legal Services Agency Ltd 134 Renfrew Street 3rd Floor, Fleming House Glasgow G3 6ST
Cross Party Working Group on Learning Disability 14 May 2019 Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, UK
2nd General Meeting of Mental Health Rights Scotland 11 May 2019 Virgin Money Store, 147 Queen Street, Glasgow
Mental Health Tribunals - Service Users and Carers Reference Group 09 May 2019 Inverness - venue tba
LSA Annual Conference : Fighting Injustice, Enforcing Rights 02 May 2019 Blytheswood Hall, Renfield St Stephens Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4JP
Cross Party Working Group on Health Inequalities 30 Apr 2019 Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, UK
LSA Seminar : Alternative Dispute Resolution in Family Law 30 Apr 2019 Legal Services Agency Ltd 134 Renfrew Street 3rd Floor, Fleming House Glasgow G3 6ST
Public Consultation on Revision of Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities 25 Apr 2019 The Alliance, Venlaw Building, 349 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4AA
Cross Party Working Group on Dementia 24 Apr 2019 Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, UK
Peer Research and Human Rights Training 18 Apr 2019 Scottish Youth Theatre, 105 Brunswick Street, Glasgow G1 1TF
Launch of 'Connect Us Too' Mental Health Awareness Videos for Deaf People 12 Apr 2019 Tayside Deaf Hub, The Old Mill, 23 Brown Street,Dundee, DD1 5EF
Human Rights Defenders Network 11 Apr 2019 Albany Learning Centre 44 Ashley Street Glasgow G3 6DS
1st Citizens' Hearing on the Right to Health 21 Mar 2019 Central Hall, 2 West Tollcross, Edinburgh EH12 5BH
VOX Scotland : Focus Group on Legal Equality and Mental Health - CANCELLED 18 Mar 2019 Mental Health Network Greater Glasgow, 62 Templeton Street, Glasgow G40 1DA
Human Rights Consortium Scotland Round-table Event 12 Mar 2019 Central Edinburgh
Mental Health and Incapacity Law Conference: 2 Day Event 11 Mar 2019 200 Saint Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5RQ, UK
Rights into Reality : Human rights and community-led health conference 06 Feb 2019 The Studio, 67 Hope St. Glasgow G2 6AE
1st General Meeting of Psychiatric Rights Scotland 19 Jan 2019 Virgin Money Store, 147 Queen Street, Glasgow

Contact Us

  • Membership of Mental Health Rights Scotland is open to any person over the age of 16 who either (a) has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, or (b) is or has been the Carer, Named Person, Welfare Attorney or Welfare Guardian of such a person. or (c) is otherwise actively campaigning for human rights in the Scottish mental health system. ****************************************************** To become a member, or for more information about our work, please complete the Contact Form opposite, or email or visit us on Facebook.