Firstly, an apology. I completely missed that the Mental Health (Discrimination) No .2 Bill 2012-13 received Royal Assent on 28th February and has now become Law.
It is now illegal in the United Kingdom to discriminate against a person from serving as Members of Parliament, members of the devolved legislatures, jurors, or company directors because of a mental health condition that does not affect their ability to operate day-to-day.
So, for example, if you are taking antidepressants or receiving regular therapy you are now able to sit on a jury. Bizarrely, until 28th February this year you would be barred from doing so.
Conservative MP Gavin Barwell is to be congratulated for tabling this legislation as a Private Members’ Bill as are Members of all political parties in the House of Commons for ensuring its safe passage to the House of Lords. In this ‘other place’ – as MPs refer to the upper chamber – Lord Stevenson of Coddenham (a cross-bench peer) steered the Bill through the House of Lords legislature stages. After which the Queen signed the Bill into Law, which is called Royal Assent.
This new law is long overdue and takes the United Kingdom another step down the road towards ending discrimination, and the stigma attached, against those with mental health conditions completely.