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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2006): Mental Health Services - UK

Are primary care health staff aware of the role of community learning disability teams in relation to health promotion and health facilitation?

A. Hames and T. Carlson

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.34, 2006, p.6-10

Research has shown that, while people with learning disabilities often have greater health needs than the general population, they access primary care at the same rate or lower. Valuing People recommends that members of learning disability teams should take on a key role in enabling people with learning disabilities to access mainstream health services. This study investigated whether primary health care team members knew about the services provided by their local learning disability team. Results showed that primary health care staff lacked knowledge of the role of the local learning disability team, in particular in relation to the role of the community nurse in health facilitation and promotion.

E. Forrest

Health Service Journal, vol.116, March 23rd 2006, p.24-26

People with mental health problems have traditionally faced difficulties accessing care for physical illnesses, although they are at increased risk of developing a number of life threatening conditions. Article describes recent moves to address this injustice.

C. Jackson

Mental Health Today, Mar. 2006, p.8-9

The pilot Pathways to Work scheme aims to help people on Incapacity Benefit get jobs. It is to be rolled out nationally in 2008 and contracted out to private and voluntary sector providers. It includes an intensive Condition Management Programme which offers one-to-one counselling using cognitive behavioural techniques and/or group work to build up clients’ self-confidence and self-esteem.

F. Myers, A. McCollam, A. Woodhouse

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive 2006

Research evidence clearly shows that deprived and marginalised groups in society are the most vulnerable to mental health problems. Report draws out implications for policy and practice. The evidence suggests that a combination of approaches is needed to break the cycle of inequality: a population based social justice approach to respond to the unequal distribution of factors that adversely impact on mental health, an equalities perspective that recognises the unequal distribution and impact of exclusion on different social groups, and a diversity mindset that respects individual differences and human rights.

Sounds Good Project


This guide is about community-based advocacy for young learning disabled people in transition from school to adult services. It is particularly important for young learning disabled people to get advocacy support as they are making choices about what they want in life. The guide points out that: 1) projects will need to develop an effective child protection policy; 2) young volunteer advocates are needed; 3) a collaborative relationship with parents is crucial; and 4) advocacy projects need to relate to a range of different organisations, including Connexions and education.

H. Spandler and N. Vick

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.14, 2006, p.107-115

A national pilot to promote direct payments to people with mental health needs in five local authority sites across England was set up and evaluated. The evaluation used a multi-method approach, including individual semi-structured interviews and group discussions with key stakeholders across the pilot sites. This article draws on findings from the pilot evaluation to provide a preliminary understanding of how applicable the independent living philosophy is to mental health and what opportunities direct payments offer to service users. When given the opportunity, service users were able to use direct payments creatively to meet a range of needs in ways that increased their choice, control and independence. This suggests that the benefits of greater independent living through direct payments may be realisable in mental health.

Paying the piper and calling the tune? Commissioners’ evaluation of advocacy services for people with learning disabilities

S. Hussein and others

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, vol.10, 2006, p.75-91

Based on the findings of a survey, this paper examines how local authorities evaluate the outcomes of the advocacy schemes that they fund. The authors conclude that monitoring and review are not well known or extensively used, and that while user involvement in evaluation is seen as appropriate this is not well developed, but that advocacy services themselves are interested in contributing to processes of improvement and accountability.

M. Frith

Independent, March 2nd 2006, p. 4

With cases of childhood mental illness increasing, in-patient beds and special units being cut, and waiting lists to see psychiatrists growing, children are being put at risk according to doctors. Budget constraints increasingly result in use of chemical coshes according to critics who complain of the low priority given to child mental health.

J. Wallace

Mental Health Today, Mar. 2006, p.12-13

In Scotland drug treatments are the chief clinical response to patients presenting with depression and waiting times for psychological therapies are long. Article describes two innovative projects in Glasgow which aim to make cognitive behavioural therapy more readily available.

[Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health]

London: 2006

Reports on a project which worked with four acute psychiatric inpatient units in England to improve conditions on their wards. It found that some very simple steps such as providing more activities for patients to reduce boredom or banning clinical sessions at mealtimes could radically improve inpatient wards.

L. Forbat

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vo.34, 2006, p.20-27

Article reports on a series of interviews with policy makers and implementers to assess Valuing People’s impact on services for people with learning disabilities as they age, focussing particularly on those who develop dementia. Interviewees spoke about their hopes for the future, highlighting the need for staff training, guaranteed access to respite for family carers, and flexible financial packages. Issues around carers’ rights and appropriate housing provision also emerged.

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