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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2010): Mental health services - UK

Barriers to using personalised technology with people with learning disabilities

S. Barnard and S. Beyer

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 50-57

This article gives some examples of how personalised technologies such as telecare, telehealth, environmental controls and prompting devices can help people with learning disabilities. It also highlights the barriers to personalised technology becoming a core element of social care for this client group. It concludes that more needs to be done to overcome these barriers and to demonstrate the potential benefits of the technology to this group.

Do less, teach more

N. Curran

Learning Disability Today, Dec. 2009, p. 34-35

The author argues that supported living staff could work more effectively with people with learning disabilities by focusing on teaching them to do the things that society values and respects and then leaving them to get on with their lives. Day to day support could then be reduced and resources used more effectively.

Don't write me off

M. Downie

Learning Disability Today, Dec.2009, p. 20-21

In October 2008 the government replaced Incapacity Benefit with Employment Support Allowance, pledging that the new system would support disabled people, such as those with autism, on a journey into employment and provide extra financial support to those who could not work. However, the system is not working out well for people with autism. Common problems include filling in complex forms, a lack of staff understanding of autism, poor medical assessments, and being misdirected to the wrong benefits. Consequently people experience inadequate job seeking support, unnecessary and distressing delays in payment, and sometimes being denied essential financial support altogether.

Independence and learning disabilities: why we must also recognise vulnerability

R. Fyson

Journal of Adult Protection, vol. 11, Aug. 2009, p. 18-25

Services for adults with a learning disability are currently based on the promotion of four key principles: rights, independence, choice and social inclusion. This paper argues that these should be balanced by a fifth principle: that vulnerable adults should be adequately protected against the risk of abuse. It calls for investment in support for people with learning disabilities to develop the social skills necessary for survival in the wider community. These include how to make friends, how to tell if someone is your friend, and how to say 'no' to a friend.

It's about time

S. Bartlett

Learning Disability Today, Jan. 2010, p. 20-21

Timebanking can offer people with learning disabilities the opportunity to interact with non-disabled members of the community on an equal footing and to challenge society's view of them as receivers of services, rather than people who can make a valued contribution. This article describes a pilot timebank scheme in the North of England, in which learning disabled people trade services with non-disabled members.

Reflective reader: social work and mental health

J. Archambeault

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2009

Social work practice involves working with and supporting people with mental health problems in many settings and across the life span. Growing as a reflective and informed practitioner is central to one's development as a student social worker and as a registered social worker. With a focus on legislation, policy and practice, this book draws on excerpts from seminal writings, journal articles, policy papers, government initiatives, statistics and user perspectives. Mental health problems and service delivery for children, adolescents and adults and the impact of the short-term and longer-term mental health problems on service users and their carers and family members are also considered.

Mental Health First Aid: rolling out across the UK

J. Terry

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol.8, issue 3, 2009, p. 33-37

The public frequently encounter people experiencing mental distress in the workplace, in their families, and in the community, but may be ill-equipped to provide appropriate support. Mental Health First Aid is a 12-hour mental health awareness programme that seeks to address the issue. The course aims to train the wider public, and staff in both statutory and non-statutory sectors, in the knowledge and skills needed to engage with someone experiencing mental health problems.

Mental health world class commissioning: a quick guide for mental health professionals

National Mental Health Development Unit

NMHDU, 2009

This short guide sets out eight steps to involving frontline mental health professionals in commissioning services. These steps are based on the established cycle of commissioning, beginning with needs assessment and ending with managing provider performance. It sets mental health service commissioning within the context of recent legislation and current national policies, including personalisation, social inclusion and recovery. It then goes on to look at the skills and knowledge professionals need to get involved in commissioning in their own areas, including influencing skills, and appreciation of political and performance management factors.

More than just lip service

L. Eaton

Mental Health Today, Dec. 2009, p.12-13

Mersey Care NHS Trust has been committed since its inception in 2001 to service user involvement and has earmarked an annual budget of 100,000 to cover the costs of the programme. Service users advocate for change through a service user and carer forum which holds managers to account. They can also sit on staff appointment panels and be involved in subsequent performance appraisals.

A move centre stage

L. Jackson

Learning Disability Today, Jan. 2010, p. 32-33

This article describes how Enfield Council has worked to introduce person centred planning into its learning disability service since 2001 and presents two case studies demonstrating how this has operated in practice.

Passport to health

J. Blair, K. Glaysher and S. Cooper

Learning Disability Today, Jan. 2010, p. 28-30

People with learning disabilities are treated less favourably than other NHS patients, resulting in prolonged suffering and inappropriate care. In order to improve communication between clinical staff and patients with learning disabilities, staff at St George's Hospital, London have introduced a passport scheme. The passport contains important information about the patient, including their health difficulties, likes and dislikes, and medication.

Recipe for success

D. Parton

Learning Disability Today, Dec. 2009, p. 28-29

This article describes how Shropshire Council is introducing the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) for people with learning disabilities. The system aims to improve the sharing and use of a range of information by professionals in social services, the police, and the NHS so that clients do not have to deal separately with each agency. The author focuses on how information about the CAF is being communicated to service users.

Shining a light on good practice

R. Hicks

Learning Disability Today, Dec. 2009, p. 24-25

Middlesbrough Council is one of only two local authorities to be given Beacon status for supported independent living for people with learning disabilities. The authority, and its partner agencies, take a person-centred approach when providing support to ensure that people have choice and control over how their needs are met.

Supporting mental health service users back to work

J. Secker

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol.8, issue 3, 2009, p. 38-45

There is evidence that getting back to work can have long-term beneficial effects on clinical outcomes for mental health service users. Moreover, there is also evidence indicating that an approach known as individual placement and support (IPS) is an effective means of enabling mental health service users to achieve sustainable paid employment. This paper reviews recent evidence for the effectiveness of IPS, describes the key features of the approach, and compares these with service users' accounts of the kind of support they find helpful. The current situation with regard to IPS implementation in the UK is then considered and barriers to its wider use are identified.

When one door closes...

I.A. McMillan

Learning Disability Today, Jan.2010, p. 22-23

Mainstream acute mental health units are unsuitable for treating patients with learning disabilities who have developed psychiatric problems. New specialist inpatient services need to be developed for those with such complex needs. One such service is described in this article, the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Kent.

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