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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2009): Mental health services - UK

Amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983: implications for people with learning disabilities

I. Hall and A. Ali

Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, vol. 3, Mar. 2009, p. 3-8

The new Mental Health Act 2007 substantially amends the Mental Health Act 2003. This article highlights some of the changes, including changes to the definition of mental disorder, the new professional roles of approved mental health worker and responsible clinician, and the new powers for supervised community treatment. The likely impact of these changes on people with learning disabilities is discussed.

Change or short change?

M. Hunter

Learning Disability Today, May 2009, p. 16-17

As part of the Valuing People strategy, local authorities are moving to close down large day centres for people with learning difficulties. Unfortunately, they are slower to invest in the development of individualised and flexible supportive services to replace them. Carers also lose out, as they find that they have to entertain people at home without a break.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in people with learning disabilities: a philosophical perspective

M. Pickard

Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, vol. 3, Mar. 2009, p. 18-22

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is a piece of legislation that extends the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It is designed to provide a legal process for depriving a vulnerable person of liberty in his/her own best interests. This article discusses the DoLS from a legal, philosophical and ethical perspective.(For a summary of the DoLS see Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, vol. 3, Mar. 2009, p.15-17)

Generation gap

A. Kaehne and S. Beyer

Learning Disability Today, May 2009, p. 34-36

This research investigated what works to facilitate the transition of young people with learning difficulties from school to employment. Data were gathered through interviews with 150 young people and their carers from six areas of the UK. The results suggest that:

  • External agencies, especially supported employment organisations, need to be involved in transition review meetings during a young person's last year at school
  • Employment pathways need to be properly funded and flexible to cater for the different needs and abilities of young people with learning difficulties
  • Carers need to be informed about the likely impact of employment on the young person
  • Everyone needs to appreciate the benefits that employment can bring to the young person in terms of inclusion, independence, confidence and monetary gain.

The Mental Capacity Act: practicalities for health and social care professionals

S. Hardy and T. Joyce

Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, vol.3, Mar. 2009, p. 9-14

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 which came fully into force in October 2007 in England and Wales provides a legal framework for making a range of decisions on behalf of those who lack capacity to make them for themselves. This article addresses some common questions that professionals face in implementing the Act on a day to day basis, including how to assess capacity, what to do if someone lacks capacity, and what could happen if a practitioner does not follow the provisions of the Act.

Old wine in new bottles

B. Hudson

Learning Disability Today, May 2009, p. 18-19

When the initial Valuing People strategy launched in 2001 began to run out of steam, the government faced a dilemma. It could either start again with a new model or refresh the existing approach, but with more emphasis on implementation. It has opted for the latter course. To ensure implementation, the government is proposing a complicated top-down framework of governance with national, regional and local tiers of responsibility.

Our fight for liberty

Learning Disability Today, May 2009, p. 10-12

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) came into force in April 2009. They were introduced in response to the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of HL v the United Kingdom. HL is an autistic man who was unlawfully detained at Bournewood Hospital in 1997 after becoming upset on his way to a day centre. The DOLS provide protection for the human rights of people who lack capacity and who might find themselves deprived of their liberty. In the article HL's carers describe how they successfully campaigned to have guidance on urgent authorisation of deprivation of liberty in the event of a crisis tightened to prevent autistic adults from being caught in the system because they are having a bad day.

Pregnant pause

A. Mickel

Community Care, May 7th 2009, p. 26-27

An estimated one in six women in the UK suffer mental ill health either during or after pregnancy. However the majority of primary care trusts do not have dedicated multi-disciplinary community-based perinatal mental health teams, and provision of mother and baby units for more serious cases is patchy.

The role of independent mental health advocates

K. Steven and J. Symington

Mental Health Today, May 2009, p. 23-27

The provision of mental health advocacy is now required by law under the Mental Health Act 2007. This report sets out how the system works and the training requirements for advocates.

Social work and mental health. 3rd ed.

M. Golightley

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2008

The range of mental health problems experienced by people in society is extensive and varied, with estimates that one in four people will experience mental health problems at some time in their lives. While key legislative functions currently rest with specialist Approved Social Workers, it is likely that all social workers will come across people with mental health needs. Thus the ability to understand and deal with mental health issues is an important part of the social work degree and of social work practice. The book provides a thorough grounding in the key issues in mental health and, by highlighting the skills and values that are necessary for contemporary practice, helps students to develop their knowledge and understanding to enable them to deliver an appropriate and responsive service for people facing mental health challenges. This edition also reflects the recent and important changes to mental health legislation including the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 2007 which makes significant amendments to the 1983 MHA, including the introduction of the Approved Mental Health Professional.

Why new mental health safeguards are welcome

F. de Luca

Professional Social Work, May 2009, p. 16-17

The author welcomes the introduction of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards which amend the Mental Capacity Act to guard against breach of human rights legislation and protect vulnerable people against potentially draconian treatment by the state.

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