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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2008): Mental health services - UK

Choose life

J. Cosh

Mental Health Today, Sept. 2008, p. 17-18

Choose Life is a ten-year plan with a target of reducing the suicide rate in Scotland by 2013. The programme is based around seven key objectives: early prevention and intervention; responding to immediate crisis; improving support for hope and recovery; providing support for those who are affected by suicidal behaviour or a completed suicide; awareness raising and encouraging people to seek help early; supporting the media in the reporting of suicide; and knowing what works.

Failures in the system: our inability to learn from inquiries

S.M. Benbow

Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 10, Aug. 2008, p. 5-13

A series of inquiries into abuse of patients on wards for older people with severe mental health problems have identified the same root causes in the shape of: 1) geographical isolation of the unit; 2) low staffing levels and lack of training; 3) poor leadership; and 4) lack of clinical governance. This article examines what happened following the publication of one such report, the Rowan Report of 2003. Some positive outcomes are identified, but these seem unlikely to prevent further incidents. It is concluded that the root cause of continuing problems lies in society's failure to prioritise and adequately resource the care of older people with dementia.

Forget Ritalin and calm hyperactive children with therapy, doctors urged

M. Henderson

The Times, Sept. 18th 2008, p. 18

Official guidelines have advised that children under five should never be prescribed drugs such as Ritalin for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and that such drugs should only be prescribed in severe cases. Rather it has been recommended that children be offered psychological therapy combined with support from parents and teachers.

(See also The Guardian, Sept. 18th 2008, p. 4 and The Independent, Sept. 18th 2008, p. 4)

Getting healthier, staying healthier

G. Henderson

Mental Health Today, Sept. 2008, p. 22-23

Mental health services in England have benefited from massive investment in recent years. However, the focus on improving services now needs to be balanced by a greater emphasis on promoting well being and social inclusion. This includes overcoming the discrimination still faced by people with mental health problems, improving the quality of life, physical health, life chances and opportunities of people living with a mental illness and enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population.

Improving the mental health and psychological well-being of children and young people: National CAMHS Review interim report

Department for Children, Schools and Families


Report finds that joint commissioning of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) by primary care trusts and local authorities is 'underdeveloped', and the respective responsibilities of the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which jointly lead on CAMHS, need to be clarified.

Mapping new roles in mental health services: the development of four new mental health roles from 2004 to 2006

C. Dickinson and others

Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 3, Apr. 2008, p. 4-11

This paper draws on data from the national mapping project to provide a unique perspective on the emergence of the roles of support, time and recovery workers, gateway workers, carer support workers and community development workers for black and minority ethnic communities.

Mental health

E. Dent (editor)

Health Service Journal, Sept. 11th 2008, p. 25-32

This special report covers three topics: 1) the impact of the patient choice agenda on the mental health services; 2) options for mental health trusts which fail to attain foundation status; and 3) the importation of techniques from manufacturing industry, such as lean thinking, to improve service quality.

New Ways of Working in CAMHS

T. Morris and B. Nixon

Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 3, Apr. 2008, p. 22-27

New Ways of Working has been a significant mental health workforce initiative since 2003. In a child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) context, New Ways of Working involves developing new, enhanced and changed roles for mental health staff and redesigning systems and processes to support staff in delivering effective, person-centred care in a way that is sustainable. One element of the change is to move away from a workforce defined by professional qualifications to one defined by skills, competencies and capability. This article presents an overview of New Ways of Working in CAMHS using two of the ten early implementer sites as examples.

'Pledge broken' on child health patients

J. Carvel

The Guardian, Sept. 26th 2008, p.21

The Conservative Party have gained information using the Freedom of Information Act which indicates that the government has failed in its promise to stop accommodating children on adult psychiatric wards.

Putting it into practice: will the new Mental Health Act slow down or accelerate integrated working?

J. Rapaport and J. Manthorpe

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Aug. 2008, p. 22-29

This article presents an overview of changes to mental health legislation introduced by the Mental Health Act 2007 and considers their implications for the workforce and for integrated working. The fluidity of the new roles and tasks set out in the Act confirms that integrated working is part of the service landscape. Training and implementation are seen as multi-agency responsibilities and as spanning professional boundaries. However it remains to be seen whether the remodelled Mental Health Act will facilitate a remodelling of the workforce.

Rooms for improvement

A. Mickel

Community Care, Sept. 4th 2008, p. 26-27

Describes the new National Centre for Mental Health in Birmingham, where open plan wards have been replaced by private rooms. The innovative design of the building has been combined with organisational change to provide more patient-centred care. Each specialist unit is tailored to the specific needs of a group of patients; for example, the Jasmine Suite for deaf patients has door buzzers and vibrating pillows to enable staff to contact users when they are in their rooms. An activity worker now focuses on providing events in the evenings and at weekends to combat boredom. All staff are being trained in basic psychological therapies.

Social work and mental health in Scotland

S. Hothersall, M. Mass-Lowit and M. Golightley

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2008

Since the inception of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, Scotland has made rapid progress in modernising its welfare legislation for vulnerable people with mental disorders. This book is a clear overview of the current legislation and gives social work students a thorough grounding in the key issues in mental health in Scotland. By highlighting the skills and values that are necessary for contemporary practice, this book helps students to develop their knowledge and understanding, enabling them to deliver an appropriate and responsive service to people facing mental health challenges.

The views and experiences of people with intellectual disabilities concerning advocacy: a focus group study

P. Llewellyn and R. Northway

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 12, 2008, p. 213-228

Advocacy has been acknowledged as the way forward for people with intellectual disabilities in their struggle to gain respect and to have the same chance as others to lead full lives. However, definitions of advocacy by people with intellectual disabilities are likely to be influenced by their life history, present situation and degree of intellectual impairment. This article reports the findings of focus groups in which people with intellectual disabilities explored their definitions and experiences of advocacy and discussed whether learning disability nurses, and other concerned professionals, had a role as advocates, or as supporters in self-advocacy. Participants' ideas were influenced by their situation, the availability and type of support offered, and their relationship with supporters. Many different definitions of advocacy emerged, which were classified as reactive or proactive advocacy at micro, meso or macro level.

Vocational rehabilitation: variety is the key to success

N. Robdale

Mental Health Today, Sept. 2008, p. 24-27

This article presents an overview of various approaches to vocational rehabilitation which have been used over the past 30 years to support people with mental health problems. Approaches reviewed include traditional industrial therapy (supported employment); provision of training in fields such as horticulture, catering and IT (train and place); finding trainees a work experience placement where they can learn specific skills (individual placement and support); job retention services; establishment of social enterprises; and self-employment.

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