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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2003): Mental Health Services - UK

BUDDING TALENTS

P. Smith

Health Service Journal, vol.113, Nov.6th 2003, p.15

Introduces the First Steps Trust, a charity which provides services such as gardening and painting and decorating run mainly by people with severe mental health problems. It aims to rebuild their confidence and help them re-enter regular employment.

A FOCUS GROUP INVESTIGATION INTO YOUNG CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING OF MENTAL HEALTH AND THEIR VIEWS ON APPROPRIATE SERVICES FOR THEIR AGE GROUP

G.A. Roose and A. M. John

Child: Care, Health and Development, Vol. 29, Nov. 2003, p.545-550

There is concern over whether services to meet the increasing mental health needs of children and young people are adequate. This study solicits children's views about an appropriate service for their age group, including location, structure and staffing, and also ascertains their understanding of the concept of mental health. Two focus groups were set up, containing 10- and-11 year-old children. The children proved to be extremely knowledgeable about mental health and raised a number of issues regarding service provision. They felt that school was not an appropriate setting for mental health services, pointing the problem of confidentiality and that fact that school nurses were rarely full time. Primary proposals for provision of services were that there should be a large number of centres, that the staff needed to be experienced, both personally and professionally, and that confidentiality must be paramount. The article concludes that these findings present a challenge to service development for children and young people.

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE MENTAL HEALTH (CARE AND TREATMENT) (SCOTLAND) ACT 2003

Scottish Executive

Edinburgh: 2003

Explains powers conferred by the Act for the compulsory detention and treatment of people with mental disorders and the safeguards available to them.

LEARNING DISABILITIES AND MENTAL HEALTH: VULNERABLE ADULTS

Social Care Law Today, Issue No. 14, September 2003, p.4-8

In S v London Borough of Newham the court ruled that a local authority can remove a vulnerable adult from his/her home even where they are not at risk of significant harm, so long as it is in their best interests. This ruling fills the gap or "lacuna" in the Mental Health Act 1983. A similar approach would be likely to be taken by the new Court of Protection proposed by the draft Mental Capacity Bill. This bill would allow the Court of Protection to decide where a person should live (and other matters related to a person's personal welfare, including contact) if s/he were incapable of deciding that matter.

(See also: Community Care Law and Practice, Issue No. 6, September 2003, p.10-14)

A LIGHT IN A DARK ROOM

K. Leason

Community Care, Oct.23rd-29th 2003, p.30-32

Discusses the negative stereotyping that afflicts minority ethnic people using the mental health services. Assumptions that people are dangerous and more ill than is in fact the case have led to over-use of sectioning under the Mental Health Act 1983.

LONDON'S STATE OF MIND: KING'S FUND MENTAL HEALTH INQUIRY 2003

R. Levenson, A. Greatley and J. Robinson

London: 2003

Report identifies good progress in improving London's mental health services in some areas, but points out a number of problems. These include:

  • high dependence on admitting people to hospital rather than treating them in the community;
  • poorly developed community and primary care mental health services in some areas, although there are also examples of good practice;
  • a shortage of suitable housing for people with mental health problems;
  • staff shortages with community-based teams poaching staff from acute wards.

Calls for:

  • a London-wide strategy for mental health;
  • collaboration between primary care trusts to strengthen commissioning;
  • improved services for minority ethnic users;
  • more emphasis on primary care mental health services;
  • more mental health promotion;
  • a co-ordinated approach to some of the workforce issues affecting services in London.

MAKING US BETTER

C. Elliott

Mental Health Today, Nov. 2003, p.20-23

People are using medical technology to transform themselves, ward off shame and social stigma, and achieve self-fulfilment. Doctors have become the means by which the pharmaceutical industry sells enhancement technologies such as antidepressants, breast augmentation and sex-reassignment surgery to the public.

MONEY FOR MENTAL HEALTH: A REVIEW OF PUBLIC SPENDING ON MENTAL HEALTH CARE

London: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2003

Superficially spending on adult mental health services increased by 11.5% in 2002/03. In fact, most of the increase was swallowed up by increased pay and prices, leaving about 3% for developing additional services. In 2003/04 the situation is worse, with a real growth in spending of 1.6% once inflationary pressures have been taken into account.

NEW GROUPS WITH OLD ISSUES

M. Maybin

Community Care, Nov.6th-12th 2003, p 40-41

As people with learning difficulties live longer, more are developing dementia. At present a significant number of these clients live with family carers, who need extra help in their own home to enable them to cope. Article describes a project launched by Ulster Community and Hospitals Trust to develop services for this group.

PIGGIES TO MARKET

L. Donnelly

Health Service Journal, vol.113, Nov.6th 2003, p.13

Mental health trusts will be able to apply for foundation status from 2005. There are concerns that, given the stigma attached to mental illness, the greater community involvement required by foundation status may be contrary to the interests of service users.

SAFE PASSAGE

N. Hill

Community Care Oct. 30th -Nov. 5th 2003, p 36-37

Describes the work of the Black Spaces Project which aims to improve services for black and minority people with mental health problems by disseminating best practice. Its research has shown the importance of:

  • working in partnership with key organisations;
  • advocacy to secure black people's rights;
  • empowering users;
  • cultural sensitivity to black service users;
  • involvement of families and the community in care.

SETTING A NEW AGENDA FOR OUR SERVICES

E. Harbridge

Community Living, vol.17, no.1, 2003, p.22-23

Uses examples from India and other less developed countries to show how people with learning difficulties could be empowered to participate in civil society.

SUITABLE CASES FOR TREATMENT?

K. Leason

Community Care, Nov.20th-26th, 2003, p30-32

Government is developing new services for people with dangerous and severe personality disorder and is building specialist units. This has caused controversy because of the large sums being invested in a very small group of users. There is also concern about the implementation of the draft Mental Health Bill for people with personality disorders. Under the Bill, they would be subject to compulsory treatment and could be detained if assessed as being likely to cause harm.

TROUBLE IN MIND

N. Goldie

Public Finance, Nov.14th-20th, 2003, p28-29

Mental health services are beset by long-standing debts, staff shortages and rising costs. They are also suffering from the fact that investment in mental health is a low priority for some of the primary care trusts which now commission service and their spend in this area varies widely

WHO PAYS THE PIPER?

L. Friedli

Mental Health Today, Nov. 2003, p.8-9

Discusses the unhealthily close relationship between pharmaceutical companies and mental health professionals. Acceptance of meals and travel expenses to sponsored educational events is associated with increased prescribing of the sponsor's products. There is also a trend towards redefining personal difficulties as diagnosable mental disorders, which require drug treatment, swelling company profits.

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