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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2005): Mental Health Services - UK

Deinstitutionalisation and community living: an international perspective

J. Mansell

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 8, Sept. 2005, p.26-33

Research has consistently shown that community-based services are better than institutional care for people with learning difficulties. However, research also shows that different services of the same type achieve widely different results when compared on the same outcome measures. Article finally looks at three current trends in service development which are likely to affect performance of community services:

  • The rise of market-based approaches to service development
  • The replacement of special arrangements for learning disability services by generic policies and practices
  • A new emphasis on the rights and empowerment of service users

Fit for the 21st century? A review of the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill 2004

C. Heginbotham

Mental Health Review, vol.10, Sept. 2005, p. 35-39

The Committee's report is a major milestone in the development of future acceptable and effective mental health legislation. It identifies opportunities in the Bill as well as recognising problems and proposing remedies. It highlights certain conceptual tensions at the heart of the Bill and emphasises the need for further thought to be given to the conditions for compulsory treatment, with the implication that the tests for compulsion need reconsideration.

Investing in mental health

L. Friedli

Mental Health Today, Oct. 2005, p.16-18

The first national framework for improving mental health in England was launched in October 2005. Article describes some steps that can be taken immediately, in the context of the framework, towards the goal of improved mental well-being for all: 1) marketing mental well-being to the general public; 2) ensuring equality of access to support services; 3) building public mental health capacity; and 4) developing public mental health intelligence.

Meet the parents

V. Williams

Community Care, Oct.13th-19th 2005, p.38-39

Article highlights the emotional needs of the parents of children with learning difficulties. It describes the development of a support group which took the ideas and tools of person-centred planning and used them to help parents regain a sense of their own identity and rebuild their resilience so that they had the strength to support their child.

Pay attention

S. Walker

Community Care, Oct.6th-12th 2005, p.36-37

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are undergoing substantial reform following the 2004 National Service Framework for Children. However, too little attention is being paid to the needs of young refugees, asylum-seekers and people from ethnic minorities with mental health problems. This is due to institutional racism and to a dearth of professionals skilled in culturally competent practice.

Personality disorder: everybody’s business

F. Pidd, N. Benefield and M. Duggan

Mental Health Review, vol.10, Sept.2005, p.8-15

Presents a brief overview of current policy and development work on personality disorder. Concludes that: 1) professionals and organisations will need to collaborate ever more closely to reduce service fragmentation; and 2) local health, social care and offender management services need to develop robust commissioning arrangements and strategies for personality disorder services.

Pressures on learning disability services: the case for review by government of current funding

Verita Association of Directors of Social Services, 2005

Demand for local authority services for people with learning disabilities has soared as many more people with severe and complex needs survive beyond infancy and as family carers are unable to cope. There has been a large and unsustainable growth in expenditure on residential care, nursing care and private hospital places and in the costs of services for people with high dependency, complex needs and challenging behaviour. There is a need for government to address the underlying shortfall in funding and for the establishment of better commissioning of more flexible and individualised support for people with complex needs. Improved support for family carers and provision of respite are central to this approach.

Staff shortages in the mental health workforce: the case of the disappearing approved social worker

P. Huxley and others

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.13, 2005, p.504-513

Paper presents the results of two surveys of mental health social workers in England and Wales conducted ten years apart in 1992 and 2002. Results show that rates of approved social workers (ASWs) per 100,000 population declined by over 50%. Various explanations for this decline are explored, including over provision of ASWs in the 1980s, a shortage of suitable recruits, and trained social workers leaving to work in other sectors.

Supported housing services for people with mental health problems: a scoping study

L. O'Malley and K. Croucher

Housing Studies, vol.20, 2005, p.831-845

Against a background of problems with the present system of supported housing services in the UK, study provides an overview of what is known about good practice in the provision of accommodation for adults of working age with mental health problems. Drawing on emerging scoping study methods, this paper describes the types of accommodation that have been subject to research in the UK as a starting point for discussion about the future of social care and housing policy for people with mental health problems. The literature shows that there has tended to be an assumption that people with mental health problems will progress over time from higher to lower levels of supported accommodation, thereby disadvantaging a core group of people with very challenging behaviour who require long-term accommodation with high levels of support.

The trouble with modernisation: we need better relationships, not policies and procedures

R. Haigh

Mental Health Review, vol.10, Sept. 2005, p.3-7

In the National Institute for Mental Health in England's policy guide, No Longer a Diagnosis of Exclusion, service users with personality disorders explain how inappropriate care from statutory services can make them worse. Author argues that this dehumanising effect is inevitable in a system that strives to define what is acceptable solely in behavioural terms, institutionalises coercion through mechanisms like the Care Programme Approach, aims to predict and control human action with increasing accuracy, pays attention to only one type of evidence, prizes the technological over the human and pays little regard to trust, continuity and relationship.

Stars in their eyes

E. Forrest

Health Service Journal, vol.115, Oct.20th 2005, p.22-24

In 2004 Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership Trust got zero stars and a damning report from the then Commission for Health Improvement. The resultant improvement strategy focused on promoting group ownership of organisational performance and ensuring that high-calibre leaders were in place to drive change. In the final round of star ratings, Worcestershire became the only mental health trust in the country to go from zero to three stars.

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