What's the problem?
People with mental health problems are excluded from jury service. The Juries Act 1974 states that you are excluded if you "regularly attend for treatment from a medical practitioner". This is so vague that it can be applied to people who are perfectly capable of serving on a jury, like me. It reflects society's views of people with a mental illness as unfit. Five and a half years ago the government promised a consultation on this. It still hasn't happened.
How does it affect you?
Twenty-two years ago I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but I'm one of the thousands of people who successfully manage the condition. Yes, I see a psychiatrist as part of living with schizophrenia, but the point is that I do live with it: I work, I'm married, I vote, I pay taxes. I work as a research officer analysing medical reviews; I am capable of examining evidence and coming to rational conclusions. This law affects everyone with a mental health problem, adding to society's marginalisation of us.
Most people don't want to do jury service - and I don't relish the idea, but I do want to give something back to society. Instead, I get yet another message that my contribution isn't worthy.
What are you doing about it?
I have signed up to Rethink's Don't Count Me Out campaign, which is lobbying the government to make good on its promise to hold a consultation
on this discriminatory law.
How can we get involved?
Join the campaign at rethink.org/jury to take action. You can email the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, and contact your MP to ask them to raise the issue of jury service with their party leader.