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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2011): Mental health services - UK

Completing the revolution: transforming mental health and tackling poverty

The Centre for Social Justice, 2011

In whichever area of social policy it researches, the greatest concern of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) is how the most vulnerable in society are affected. This is both in terms of the problem that policy is trying to address and the extent to which current policy can facilitate the necessary transformation in their circumstances. Previous CSJ reports on criminal justice (courts, sentencing and prison reform), asylum, family breakdown and children in care, inter alia have shown that mental ill-health compounds poverty and is possibly more effective at bringing people down and keeping them down than anything else. For these reasons it is vital that all those who are working with the mentally ill should see themselves as an integral part of the much wider social movement to tackle welfare dependency and the other main drivers and effects of poverty: family breakdown, addictions, serious personal debt and educational failure. This is led nationally by the cross-departmental Social Justice Cabinet Committee in central government and similar structures should be put in place at the local authority level to keep this agenda on track and coordinate the full range of health, social care, educational and other sectoral efforts that are vital to transform outcomes.

The IMCA: a vital but frail champion for vulnerable people


Community Living, vol. 25, no.1, 2011, p. 17

Large bureaucracies such as the NHS and local government struggle to meet the individual care needs of vulnerable people who lack mental capacity and cannot speak for themselves. Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) were introduced under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to speak for and champion mentally incapacitated people.

Introducing the Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service and the reform of adult safeguarding procedures

M. Redley and others

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 41, 2011, p. 1058-1069

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a legal framework for making decisions on behalf of people who lack capacity. It also introduced a statutory advocacy service to provide a voice for these people in potentially life changing decisions. In 2006 the scope of the Act was extended to give local authorities a discretionary power to involve an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) when a person subject to adult safeguarding procedures lacks decision-making capacity in relation to protective measures. This paper focuses on the involvement of IMCAs in adult safeguarding. It presents 1) an overview of the development of adult safeguarding and the introduction of IMCAs into these procedures; 2) findings from a research project investigating the impact of this integration; and 3) a discussion of some of the challenges faced by IMCAs in this area of work.

Joint programmes: give them a second thought: the value of programmes leading to dual nursing and social work qualifications

J. Weinstein and M. Boudioni

Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 6, 2011, p. 128-134

This paper aims to draw attention to the need for a more holistic approach to mental health training that brings together the medical and social knowledge and skills required by today's practitioners. The paper is based on the authors' experience of developing and evaluating a joint mental health programme at London Southbank University between 2004 and 2008.

Making the first step to counselling services

R. Pacitti

Mental Health Today, Sept./Oct. 2011, p. 29-33

Studies have shown that people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups are less likely to access counselling services and talking therapies than their white British counterparts. However Mind in Croydon found that people from BME communities were accessing its counselling service in numbers proportionate to their presence in the area. This study investigated what it was about the Mind Croydon counselling service that made it accessible to this group. Results showed that: people from BME groups are more likely to engage with non-statutory services; services being outside the user's immediate neighbourhood is seen as positive; and services do not have to be targeted on BME groups to effectively engage with them.

Mental health cuts put services for younger children under pressure

J. Cooper

Community Care, Sept. 29th 2011, p. 10

Cuts to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services budgets mean that scarce resources will be targeted on teenagers in crisis according to Young Minds and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. However, low level provision for younger children with mental health issues is being cut back. Professionals predict that this will lead to a sharp increase in numbers of teenagers with severe mental health problems in future.

Mental health treatments impeded by dearth of impact data

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Sept. 20th-Oct. 3rd 2011, p. 40-41

Evidence on the effectiveness of mental health treatments for young people is being lost as a result of the Coalition government's drive to reduce bureaucracy and encourage localism. No national statistics will now be produced on the number of young people treated for mental health problems using drugs, talking therapies or a combination of the two. Lack of national data on treatments makes it difficult to advance the quality of care for young people. A system called the CAMHS Dataset is currently under development by the NHS Information Centre. This aims to provide a national resource of patient-level data, but the scheme has been under development since 2007 and is still unfinished.

Parents who feel 'set up to fail'

L. Hunt

Community Care, Sept. 29th 2011, p. 20-21

It is estimated that parents with learning disabilities are up to 50 times more likely to be involved in care proceedings than their peers. Support for learning disabled parents is not high on local authority agendas. This article showcases a Kent County Council support service for learning disabled parents which demonstrates that proper help can result in fewer children being taken into public care, leading to cost savings.

People with intellectual disabilities: towards a good life?

K. Johnson and J. Walmsley with M. Wolfe

Bristol: Policy Press, 2010

What does it mean to live a good life? Why has it proved so difficult for people with intellectual disabilities to live one? What happens when we make a good life the centre of our consideration of people with intellectual disabilities? This book explores these questions through a re-examination of ideas from philosophy and social theory, and through personal life stories. It provides an analysis and critique of current policies and underpinning ideologies in relation to people with intellectual disabilities and explores ways in which a good life may be made more attainable.

Step forward

D. Parton

Mental Health Today, Sept./Oct. 2011, p. 10-11

This editorial comments on the implications of the Dilnot report on adult social care funding for mental health service users. Experts welcome recommendations that no one under 40 should have to contribute to their social care costs, that care assessments should be portable between local authorities and that eligibility criteria for social care services should be standardised across the country. However, there are concerns that the recommendation that the threshold for eligibility for social care services should be set at the current substantial level would see many mental health service users missing out. Some experts also doubt that Dilnot's recommendations will ever be implemented due to their cost and lack of political will.

Valuing People: does the policy have a future?

A. Holman

Community Living, vol. 25, no.1, 2011, p. 6-7

This report of an interview with Anne Williams, national director for learning disabilities, took place in the context of the ending of the Valuing People Now delivery programme. However, the discussion was dominated by the abuse scandal at the Winterbourne View private hospital for people with learning difficulties.

Where have all the gentle teachers gone?

B. Maguire

Community Living, vol. 25, no.1, p. 14-15

The gentle teaching technique for carers of people with learning difficulties was introduced in the UK in the 1990s, but has now fallen out of favour. How it is taught and practised has undergone a significant change since its introduction. The technique as currently practised involves teaching others to feel safe, loved, loving and engaged. In order to revive interest, a Gentle Teaching Network is being formed in the UK and Ireland.

Women's secure services

C. Jacob and S. Lilley

Mental Health Today, Sept./Oct 2011, p. 21-23

Partnerships in Care (PiC) is the largest independent provider of secure mental health facilities in the UK. Following the introduction of the national Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention programme, PiC Midlands reviewed its model of care in terms of the aims of the programme and current psychological knowledge of the treatment of women. This article describes how they subsequently introduced a staged or phased model of care for their clients, who predominantly have primary or secondary diagnoses of personality disorder.

Working with carers in educational settings: developing innovations in practice

M. Lloyd and others

Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 6, 2011, p. 135-141

It is suggested that across Europe, up to 90% of people with a mental illness receive support from family and friends. The carer's understanding of the person they care for may be far greater than that of the practitioner and yet it is not recognised or respected. Carers also have needs which have to be met if they are to continue to care for people with mental illness. This article explores how carers can be involved in higher education, teaching students about their own support needs and their lived experience of caring for someone with a mental illness. This vicarious learning helps students to understand carers' feelings and perspectives and prepares them for developing relationships with carers in practice.

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