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

'Acute concerns': is the mental health workforce equipped and supported to meet complex needs?

E. Hughes, Y. Brown and R. Tummey

Advances in Dual Diagnosis, vol. 5, 2012, p. 15-22

Around half of admissions to mental health acute care services have a comorbid drug and/or alcohol problem. In order to provide therapeutic care for this group of patients, acute care staff should be skilled in core psychosocial approaches as well as having specific skills in assessment and interventions for substance abuse. However, the findings of this survey indicate that most acute care staff had not accessed training in psychosocial approaches, and where they had, a proportion of them lacked supervision and support to implement the training in practice. In addition, it seemed that assessment and education regarding substance abuse was only occurring 'sometimes'.

Can mental health policy ever deliver its objectives?

J. White and H. Johnson

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 18, 2012, p. 238-244

In February 2011, the Coalition government published its mental health strategy, No Health Without Mental Health, two years after the appearance of the Labour government's strategy, New Horizons: a Shared Vision for Mental Health. The ambition of the latest strategy was to mainstream mental health provision and care and achieve 'parity of esteem' with physical health. However, in the context of public spending cuts, there is no evidence that the strategy is being used to guide local commissioning. The authors propose that, if progress is to be made, a Cabinet Minister for Mental Health and Social Care should be appointed to champion the factoring in of mental health when any policy is developed.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Part 3: how the authorisation regime safeguards are working

N. Pearce and S. Jackson

Family Law, May 2012, p. 567-572

There is no doubt that the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards impose an enormous new administrative burden on local authorities. Unsurprisingly, attempts are made to look for short cuts or for ways to avoid the provisions. This article examines how the new regime is working by reference to three key cases and how the Court of Protection operates in scrutinising attempts to circumvent the statutory provisions.

NHS budget pressures help shape mental healthcare

P. Hodgkinson

British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 18, 2012, p. 234-235

The author explains how the financial pressures faced by the NHS are stimulating it to respond positively to the government's demands for improved efficiency and effectiveness. She argues that change in NHS mental health services can be enabled by external partners, empowered teams and supportive structures.

The politics of recovery in mental health: a left libertarian policy analysis

A. Edgley and others

Social Theory and Health, vol. 10, 2012, p. 121-140

Recovery, within mental health policy, does not mean 'return to full health'. Rather it embodies an acceptance that mental health problems may endure, but that sufferers still want to be socially supported to rebuild their lives in meaningful and self-determining ways, allowing them to contribute and experience interdependence within society. Now fashionable, the Recovery model has become the dominant paradigm and is in danger of being co-opted and distorted by mainstream English policymakers and experts in the field. This article uses Naom Chomsky's critical methodology to provide both a theoretical analysis and justification for the Recovery model, which in turn lends itself as a critical tool with which to judge current manifestations of the Recovery model in practice. In Chomsky's political philosophy, hope is both a pre-requisite and a pre-condition for a trusting and supportive environment. Citizens, with and without mental illness, need these conditions to be able to access and use their creativity in dealing with their present reality. Those with mental ill health will not be excluded if society in general, and policy based on the Recovery model, foreground hope, creativity and supportive communities.

Taking on the council

E. Hackbridge

Community Living, vol. 25, no.3, 2012, p. 18-19

This article presents a case study of a mother's battle against Barnet Council, which had unilaterally withdrawn crucial support from her autistic daughter without preparation, which led to s significant deterioration in her behaviour. There is a clear need for greater scrutiny of services by carers and users and for their proper monitoring. Two Barnet family carers have founded the Campaign against Destruction of Disabled Support Services, which is uncovering more cases of neglect and injustice.

There is another way

R. Trustram

Community Living, vol. 25, no.3, 2012, p. 22-23

This article reports on the presentations at the Association for Supported Living's annual conference on services for people with learning disabilities living in the community. The papers covered threats to personalisation and supported living, family support, and the implications of changes to welfare benefits for supported housing.

Working in mental health: practice and policy in a changing environment

P. Phillips, T. Sandford and C. Johnston (editors)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2012

A paradigm shift in the ways in which mental health services are delivered is happening - both for service users, and for professional mental healthcare workers. A more influential service user movement, a range of new community-based mental healthcare programmes delivered by an increasing plurality of providers and new mental health policy and legislation are all changing the landscape. Written by a team of experienced authors, and drawing on their expertise in policy and clinical leadership as well as user perspectives, this textbook explains how mental health services and their staff can operate and contribute in this new environment. The first part of the book focuses on the socio-political environment, incorporating service user perspectives. Part two goes on to look at current themes and ways of working in mental health - including chapters on recovery, the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme and mental healthcare for specific vulnerable populations. The final part explores new and future challenges, such as changing professional roles and commissioning services. The book focuses throughout on the importance of public health approaches to mental healthcare.

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