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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2006): Mental health services - UK

Arts and social capital

H. Parr

Mental Health Today, June 2006, p.23-25

This article draws on research conducted with two arts for mental health projects in two Scottish cities to explore the perceived contribution of arts work to building both bonding and bridging social capital. Project artists identified a range of social benefits deriving from their participation. The projects provided stability in their lives, enhanced their well-being and contributed to their ability to relate to and communicate with others. The projects also facilitated contact with other community groups and arts organisations and enabled project artists to exhibit their work in mainstream cultural spaces.

The development of a new integrated mental health service for people with learning disabilities

I. Hall and others

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.34, 2006, p.82-87

People with learning disabilities experience the full range of psychiatric disorders and public policy currently advocates that they access mainstream mental health services. Article describes the process of setting up local inpatient and community services that properly enabled such access.

Family carer’s views of services for people with learning disabilities from Black and minority ethnic groups: a qualitative study of 30 families in a South London borough

J. Hubert

Disability and Society, vol.21, 2006, p.259-272

In this small qualitative study, interviews were held with 30 family carers of people with learning disabilities from Black and minority ethnic communities. More than half of the carers were over 60 and a quarter were over 70. They received little assistance with personal care at home and inadequate social worker support. Stereotypes of supportive family networks (especially regarding South Asian families) proved to be unfounded. It is clear that the needs of carers from Black and minority ethnic communities are not being met.

It’s no good demanding to be let out … there’s nowhere else to go

S. Gillen

Community Care, June 1st-7th 2006, p.28-29

The Mental Health Act 1983 s.136 gives police the power to detain people with mental health problems who are believed to be in immediate need of care or control at a place of safety for assessment. Such people are being routinely and inappropriately detained in police cells because of a lack of properly staffed assessment centres.

Mental health social work: evidence-based practice

C. Pritchard

Abingdon: Routledge, 2006

Social workers who want to work in the mental health field must have a good knowledge of interventions and their evidence bases, from pharmacology to psychotherapy. They must also be able to work sensitively and effectively with both clients and carers in a rapidly changing world. This book explores key issues in this field:

  • The multiple factors affecting mental health;
  • The bio-psychosocial model of practice;
  • Key areas including depression, suicide, schizophrenia and personality disorder;
  • The mental health-child protection interface;
  • Residential work;
  • Treatment modalities.

Nine years on, the Bournewood gap remains as wide as ever

H. McCormack

Community Care, June 15th-21st 2006, p.18-19

New proposals would give councils, primary care trusts and the Welsh Assembly government powers to detain people who lack capacity due to autism, dementia or learning difficulties for up to a year in care homes or psychiatric hospitals, and renew this after a further assessment. There would be a right of appeal, but no defined timetable for hearings. Appeals would be heard by the Court of Protection, which normally deals with issues around powers of attorney, not by the mental health review tribunals.

Old issues and new directions: perceptions of advocacy, its extent and effectiveness from a qualitative study of stakeholder views

J. Rapaport and others

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, vol.10, 2006, p.191-210

This article describes and discusses 27 interviews that explored perceptions of the effectiveness of advocacy services for people with learning disabilities in the UK. The views of stakeholders on the current position of advocacy services, how services are evaluated and recommendations for change are central themes in the analysis of the interviews.

Propelled into uncertainty

D. Cummings

Community Care, June 1st-7th 2006, p.34-35

Article discusses the problems encountered by young people with both a learning difficulty and a mental health problem in transition between child and adult services. Adult mental health services professionals lack the skills to deal with learning difficulties and professionals in learning difficulties services are not trained in mental health care. This can lead to vulnerable people falling into the gap between them.

Putting users in control

G. Hitchon and others

Mental Health Today, June 2006, p.16-18

Article introduces the vision of the mental health charity Together, which argues that those working with people with mental health problems should focus on their overall well-being and quality of life, not just on treatment of symptoms. Mental distress needs to be approached in the contexts of subjective experience, observable changes in brain states and behaviour and their medical treatment, the responses of friends and family and the attitudes of the wider society.

Reversing the export of people with learning disabilities and complex health needs

A. Pritchard and A. Roy

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.34, 2006, p.88-93

A survey of local commissioning authorities in the West Midlands in 2002 showed that out-of-area placements of people with severe learning disabilities or complex mental health needs were common. The population was predominantly young and male, requiring high levels of funding. Article calls for the commissioning of high quality local services which would allow better monitoring and potentially cost less and which could be developed by neighbouring authorities working in partnership.

The safer sex

E. Dent

Health Service Journal, vol.116, June 22nd 2006, p.24-26

Around one-tenth of patients needing treatment for mental health problems in medium-secure units are women, but NHS provision is built around men. Women patients are likely to have a history of abuse and self-harm, although some will have been referred from the criminal justice system. This article reports on new moves to provide medium-secure services in-house rather than commissioning them from the private sector.

Services need to consult young on future plans

D. Ghose

Young People Now, June 14th 2006, p.9

Describes a range of approaches to involving young people in the development of the mental health services, focusing on those who self-harm and those with eating disorders.

Set up to fail as parents?

J. Snell

Community Care, June 8th-14th 2006, p.28-29

It is estimated that more than half of parents with learning difficulties have their children taken into care due to poor parenting and neglect. There is evidence that the child protection system sets such parents up to fail, and that with the right support more could bring up their own children. Now that social services in England have been restructured so that adult and children’s services are separate, it is vital that channels of communication are kept open and departments work together to ensure that such parents are supported.

Small is beautiful

S. Barry, G. Hughes and S. Lawton-Smith

Mental Health Today, June 2006, p.30-33

In 2004 the London Development Centre established a psychiatric acute inpatient care collaborative to encourage and support small practical improvements on the wards. The three most popular initiatives were protected engagement time in which routine tasks were put aside to allow staff to interact with patients, staff training in helping people with dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental health problems, and countering boredom through provision of more activities for patients.

Tackling discrimination

G. Thornicroft

Mental Health Today, June 2006, p.26-29

Article outlines the practical steps that can be taken to reduce the discrimination and social exclusion experienced by people with mental health problems. These include: tackling widespread public ignorance about mental illness; empowering mental health service users through strategies such as self-management and self-advocacy; improving access to paid employment; raising awareness of the nature of mental health difficulties among key target groups such as the police and church leaders; and passing anti-discrimination legislation.

The truth hurts

Mental Health Foundation, 2006

Inquiry argues that young people need to be able to disclose their self-harming behaviour without fear of panic, revulsion or condemnation from adults. The report calls for: 1) better knowledge of the prevalence of self harm; 2) better understanding of why young people self harm; 3) better information provision; 4) services to be commissioned where young people feel respected; and 5) building of an evidence base about effective prevention and intervention.

The uncelebrated parent: stories of mothers with learning difficulties caught in the child protection net

T. Booth and W. Booth

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.34, 2006, p.94-102

Three mothers with learning disabilities describe their personal experiences of child protection services in detail. From out of these accounts comes a political narrative about the role of the state in policing vulnerable and marginalised families.

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