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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2012): Mental health services - UK

Appeals soar after secret courts are opened to public

J. Taylor

The Independent, January 2nd 2012, p. 2

Following a campaign by The Independent to open hearings of the Court of Protection in the Neary case last year, appeals against Deprivation of Liberty Orders (DoLs) have soared. DoLs are used by local authorities and care homes to restrict the freedom of people deemed to lack the capacity to make decisions. They are separate from powers that allow people to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. People sectioned under the MHA are made aware of their legal rights and are entitled to a tribunal hearing within six weeks; however, the only way to contest a DoL Order is via the Court of Protection, in London. Because of backlogs, this can take considerably longer.

Capacity and competence: limitations on choice and action

P. Willner

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 5, no. 6, 2011, p. 49-56

The terms capacity and competence are often used interchangeably, but are actually distinct concepts and the failure to differentiate them can lead to confusion. The term mental capacity refers to the ability to reach a decision, while competence relates to the ability to perform actions to put decisions into effect. This paper explores some of the implications of this distinction as it applies to adults with cognitive limitations. Questions of capacity are governed by legislation in the UK; they apply only to people who can be demonstrated to have a mental disorder; and they trigger best-interests decision making and other legal provisions if capacity is assessed as absent. Questions of competence involve a range of formal and informal assessment procedures, and can apply to anyone; they arise when others possess legal powers to control another's actions.

Children urged to talk about depression

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Jan 18th 2012, p. 2

Children will be encouraged to talk about their feelings of depression and anxiety under a government-backed drive to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness. The Department of Health has provided 16m funding for the Time for Change campaign, aimed at children in schools and youth clubs and via social networking websites.

Inclusive communication: a tool for service innovation

R. Shute and others

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 18, 2012, p. 19-26

This paper proposes that effective communication is a crucial ingredient of successful change and a tool that can be used to support those that are affected by it. Over the past 10 years, NHS mental health services in Gloucestershire have undergone significant structural reform. The organisation is now embarking on a service transformation known as Fair Horizons, developing a service user centred, non-discriminatory care pathway model which places the patient at the heart of clinical services. To support the transition, the trust has developed a theoretically-based communication strategy and tactical plan.

Measuring the costs and benefits of promoting social inclusion

G. Shepherd and M. Parsonage

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 15, 2011, p. 165-174

With the advent of the coalition government, the concept of social inclusion seems to have dropped out of the policy vocabulary. This brief review argues that it remains a useful concept for understanding the causes of mental health problems and how they might be addressed. Although the measurement of social inclusion is not easy, it can be operationalised through a mixture of subjective and objective indicators. In addition there is strong evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving social inclusion for a number of high-risk groups, including children with behavioural problems, young adults with first episode psychosis, and unemployed adults of working age.

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