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

The American way

L. Eaton

Mental Health Today, Feb. 2010, p. 13-14

Peer support could be a way of promoting the personalisation agenda among mental health service users. This article introduces the work of the Fisher Organisation, founded in the USA by psychiatrist Dan Fisher, which trains peer supporters. It is argued that peer support provision could help overcome the resistance of social workers to direct payments.

Barriers to user involvement in mental health services for people with learning disability

E. Chaplin and others

Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, vol. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 28-33

People with learning disabilities who have mental health problems have the same right to be fully involved in their care as any other person using services. Through initiatives such as the Green Light Tool, service users are beginning to be involved at all levels of their mental health care. There are barriers to service user involvement, but they can be overcome by careful planning, equality in accessing information, and viewing involvement as an essential part of care planning, care delivery and service development.

Current perceptions of respite care: experiences of family and informal carers of people with a learning disability

I. Mansell and C. Wilson

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, vol.13, 2009, p.255-267

Caring for someone with a learning disability often impacts on the carer's physical and psychological health. Access to regular, high quality respite care is known to have a beneficial impact on a carer's ability to continue in their caring role. This study aims to report family and informal carers' perceptions of respite care services offered to them by their local authorities. The study found evidence of unmet needs, with the majority of carers reporting that they had not been able to access the required respite support.

Education and training for learning disability practice: key messages from contemporary literature

D. Crickmore and J. Wray

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 13, 2009, p. 291-304

Although long-stay learning disability hospitals have largely closed, many people continue to be supported in congregate settings despite the promotion of direct payments and piloting of individual budgets. Such provision normally includes facilitation by individuals in paid employment. Within this context, there is a clear need for those who undertake the role of supporting people with learning disabilities to have access to relevant education and training. This article presents a review of UK and English language literature in this field from 1983.

Funds transfer in the balance

V. Pitt

Community Care, Jan. 21st 2010, p. 24-25

The Government's Valuing People Now strategy for learning disability services required that funding for social care should be transferred from NHS primary care trusts to local authorities through local deals in 2009/10 and 2010/11, with councils receiving funding directly from the Department of Health from 2011/12. This article reports on progress with implementation of funds transfer, highlighting some areas of dispute between primary care trusts and councils.

Let's get personal

J. Morrison

Mental Health Today, Feb. 2010, p. 10-12

The government's personalisation agenda for health and social care focuses on giving service users control over the money spent on their behalf. Unfortunately there is growing concern that local authorities, scenting cost savings, are forcing direct payments on service users who don't want them. However only a tiny minority of mental health service users commission their own support, because they are entering the care system via the NHS, which has not engaged with the personalisation agenda.

New horizons: a shared vision for mental health

Department of Health


This new strategy for mental health services in England combines the protection and promotion of good mental health and well being at both an individual and a population level with improved care and treatment for those diagnosed with mental illnesses. It builds upon the foundations laid by the National Service Framework for Mental Health. It identifies five key windows of opportunity for preventing mental ill health and promoting mental wellbeing across the lifespan:

  • Building mental wellbeing in children.
  • Improving the transition from child and adolescent mental health services to adult services.
  • Tackling inequalities of opportunity, stigma and discrimination experienced by adults with mental health problems, promoting mentally healthy workplaces and addressing links between mental and physical health and disability.
  • Embedding the recovery approach throughout our mental health services.
  • Combating the discrimination that older people experience at all levels of mental health care and treatment.

    (For comment see Mental Health Today, Feb. 2010, p. 32-33

    New Ways of Working for nurses

    N. Brimblecombe

    Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 4, Sept. 2009, p. 5-9

    The New Ways of Working reform aims to expand the roles and increase the responsibilities of nurses. This article considers the impact of the New Ways of Working initiative on mental health nursing and its continuing implications for the profession. The development of nurse prescribing is used as an illustration of the challenges and opportunities that have commonly arisen when new roles and skill sets have been introduced in mental health settings.

    New Ways of Working in child and adolescent mental health services: 'keep the baby but throw out the bathwater'

    T. Morris, Y. Anderson and B. Nixon

    Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 4, Sept. 2009, p. 10-14

    The New Ways of Working initiative omitted consideration of factors peculiar to children's mental health services. This meant that many in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) world allowed the initiative to pass them by as another adult-services led idea. Equally, it meant that ideas already prevalent in CAMHS, such as creation of multidisciplinary teams characterised by dispersed patterns of responsibility and leadership, were left to be rediscovered by adult services using the principles of New Ways of Working.

    Time to care

    S. Nelson

    Mental Health Today, Feb. 2010, p. 30-31

    The concordat between the Scottish Government and local authorities includes a commitment to delivering 10,000 extra respite weeks for carers over the next three years. However, there is evidence that people with mental health problems and their carers are not even benefiting from existing respite provision. Cairdeas House in Edinburgh offers respite care as planned breaks for people with a wide range of mental health problems. However, in spite of excellent evaluations, it is seriously underused by local authorities.

    Valuing People Now: a progress report

    V. Pitt

    Community Care, Jan. 21st 2010, p. 26

    This article presents a brief overview of progress with the implementation of Valuing People Now, the government's strategy for the development of services for people with learning disabilities. It covers healthcare, housing and employment.

    What should community services provide for adults with psychosis and learning disabilities? A comparison of the views of service users, carers and professionals

    C. Hemmings, L. Underwood and N. Bouras

    Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, vol. 3, Sept. 2009, p. 22-27

    Three separate focus groups were conducted to compare the views of service users, carers and specialist health professionals on community services for adults with psychosis and learning disabilities. The views of the three groups were not in conflict or opposition, but they differed in their emphases and priorities. All three perspectives are necessary for the planning, delivery and evaluation of good services in the community for adults with mental health problems and learning difficulties.

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