Journal Article

Powers to Detain under Mental Health Legislation in England and the Role of the Approved Social Worker: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends under the 1983 Mental Health Act in Six Local Authorities

Barbara Hatfield

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 8, pages 1553-1571
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm046
Powers to Detain under Mental Health Legislation in England and the Role of the Approved Social Worker: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends under the 1983 Mental Health Act in Six Local Authorities

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The study reported makes use of an existing database in order to examine a group of individuals assessed by approved social workers (ASWs) under the Mental Health Act, with a view to detention in psychiatric hospital. The study aims to develop a profile of these individuals, their pathways to assessment and the outcome of the assessments, and to examine the social implications of the findings. The study also seeks to identify changes over a nine-year period. The role of the ASW is reviewed in the light of the analysis of the nine-year information. Key features in the social situations of individuals are identified that may be associated with mental health need. Specific aspects of gender and life-stage vulnerability are suggested, as are poor material resources, isolation and lifestyle issues such as drug and alcohol misuse. The close association of psychiatric severity and social disadvantage is evident, presenting assessing ASWs with challenging and complex assessments. Mental health social workers are uniquely equipped to identify issues in the social context that may contribute to mental health crisis. Interventions underpinned by social approaches, including social inclusion and the recovery model, have the potential to help provide services in the longer term that provide social support and minimize the need for crisis admission.

Keywords: Mental Health Act; approved social worker; social inclusion; social factors

Journal Article.  6865 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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