mental health and social work

Topics: Mental health, Mental disorder, Sociology Pages: 20 (4846 words) Published: October 9, 2014
Legal and Historical Context
This essay will consider key issues that relate to mental health problems in the practice of social work with adults in the United Kingdom. This will be demonstrated by firstly examining the legal and historical context of the mental health and the Mental Health Act (MHA). Secondly, an understanding of theories suitable for individual assessment and intervention process will be critically analysed. Finally, issues of diversity, collaboration and conflict encountered by Social Workers when working with individuals having mental health problems will be considered. The eighteenth century period signalled a change in the history of the treatment of people with mental health problems in the United Kingdom (Porter, 2003). This time was evidenced by the growth of asylums where individuals with mental health problems were detained and kept away from the society. Carbon (2011) states that, the asylums not only created new types of buildings to house people with mental health problems but also resulted in the establishment of new professionals who claimed expert knowledge in the care and control of people with mental illness. Jones (1993) argues that the improvement in the understanding of medical and social models of treatment at the beginning of the 20th century meant that the asylum numbers started dropping, and the mentally ill started to be treated within their communities (Pilgrim and Rogers, 1999). According to Golightley (2011), another view for moving away from the asylums was that it was believed to be less costly to treat customers in the community than keeping them in hospitals. In addition, the impact of scandals and abuse in asylums also led to the deinstitutionalisation of care for the mentally ill (Fawcett, et al., 2012). Scull, (1979) cited in Pilgrim (2009), argues that deinstitulisation in Britain was a result of the introduction of welfare programmes which meant that it was economical to maintain patients outside hospitals. On the other hand, Warner (1989) argues that deinstitutionalisation was a result of the high demand of labour because of the after effects of World War II. Consequently the Percy Report, published in 1957 led on to the passing of the 1959 Mental Health Act (MHA), which laid an emphasis on treatment, and aimed at ending the asylum era (Karban, 2011). Equally the 1959 Act formed the basis of the MHA 1983 (Andrews, et al,. 1997). The MHA 1983 was established to improve mental health services (Department of Health (DoH), 1998). However, Karban (2011) suggests that it was influenced by a government program that was aimed at reducing risk and getting rid of dangerous individuals from the community. The primary aim of the act was to involve a compulsory detention and treatment towards people with a mental disorder without their consent. This is necessary for treatment and care and safety for patients and the public. The MHA (1983) was amended in 2007 by the MHA (2007). The main striking amendments for the act were that of the definition of mental disorder, introduction of Approved Mental Health Professions (AMHPs), and community treatment orders (CTOs), (Bogg, 2010). The definition of mental disorder was loosely defined in MHA 1983, under the MHA 2007, definition relates to all forms of disorders. According to Hall and Ali (2009), the change resulted in lessening misperceptions as regards to eligibility for being detained under the Act. In addition, the new Act widened the criteria for inclusion of disorders that were not counted by the Act before. The role of an Approved Social Worker (ASW) was broadened to that of Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) and included professionals such as Social Workers and psychiatrists. On the other hand, Gregor (2010) states that the introduction of the AMHPs has triggered concerns amongst Social Workers and service users who valued the independent position of social work. Bernecky and Huxley (2009) state that since...
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