A DEMONSTRATION has been planned against proposed changes to the law on the treatment of people with mental health problems.

Members of mental health support group Mind fear the draft Mental Health Bill will water down current patient safeguards against compulsory detention and deter people from seeking help.

One in four people experience some form of mental illness at one time of their lives, research has shown.

The protest being organised on Teesside will take the form of a candlelit vigil in Redcar town centre on Wednesday, February 2, the same day a Commons committee takes its final day of evidence for the Bill.

Redcar and Cleveland Mind say it is essential that MPs are aware of service users' concerns.

Sharon Street, director of the local group, said: "Although our organisation supports some aspects of the draft bill, I am particularly concerned that more people will be forced to stay in hospital and receive treatment without their consent because the Bill broadens the definition of who can come within its compulsory provisions.

"It is disappointing that, despite years of consultation, the Government does not seem to have listened to the views of service users, carers and professionals providing mental health care.''

A vigil organised by national Mind will be held outside the Houses of Parliament on the same day.