Mental Health Rights Respected – but Scots Service Users Say More Work to be Done

Five years after new Scottish mental health laws came into force, there’s a general consensus that the needs and wishes of people with mental health problems are being respected when it comes to their care and treatment.

That’s the conclusion of a survey[i] published today [30 September 2010] by the Mental Welfare Commission’s Principles and Practice Network.

However, there’s a marked difference between the views of mental health professionals on the one hand and service users on the other.

Three in four (75 per cent) of mental health professionals believe that an individual’s wishes are always or often taken into account in their care and treatment.

However this view is only shared by around a third (37 per cent) of service users and carers.

Similarly, whereas nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of mental health professionals believe that an individual’s abilities and background are always or often taken into account in decisions about their care and treatment, only 26 per cent of services users and carers agree that this is the case.

The principles of good mental health care and treatments were set out in the 2005 Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act and were designed to ensure that the views and interests of the individual are taken into account.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Respondents considered that older people were least likely to have the principles applied to their care and treatment.
  • Over half of those surveyed (55 per cent) considered that public sector cuts will make it less likely that the principles continue to be taken into account in delivering services for people with mental health problems.
  • While 84 per cent of mental health professionals were aware of the guiding principles, a third of service users and carers (33 per cent) thought awareness among those responsible for mental health treatment was “limited”.
  • Speaking on behalf of the Mental Welfare Commission’s Principles and Practice Network, co-ordinator Anita Wiseman said:

    “Scotland is widely regarded as leading the way in Europe in having the most progressive mental health laws – and the principles are a big part of this.

    For service users, the principles set out how professionals should work with individuals and their carers. For professionals, the principles provide a framework to help them consider the ethical aspects or alternative approaches to a person's care and treatment.

    “But there’s a gap to fill between the views of professionals on the one hand and service users and carers on the other. And there’s a lot to learn from projects that are doing it really well, such as our Principles into Practice Award winner from 2009, the Orchard Centre, which supports people at times of crisis and provides an active role for service users in developing and delivering the service.”

    The survey was published as the Principles into Practice Awards 2010-11 open for nominations.

     -ENDS-


     

    [i] The survey was conducted during September 2010 among members of the Principles into Practice network and it received 306 responses. For a full copy of the survey, click here www.principlesintopractice.net/about

    2. The survey is published on the 5th anniversary of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act passing into law in October 2005.

    3. The principles of good mental health care and treatment have been set out in law. They were developed from consultation about what people felt was important to them when they were being cared for in hospital or in the community. For service users, the principles set out how professionals should work with individuals and their carers. For professionals, the principles provide a framework to help them consider the ethical aspects or alternative approaches to a person's care and treatment. The principles don't give legal rights in the same way as other parts of the mental health and human rights law do. But you can use the principles as a guide to what professionals and organisations that help people with mental health should be doing. The principles apply to everyone who uses mental health services. 

    4. The Orchard Centre provides support and activities for people with mental health problems in Midlothian. Project details, including a short video about their work can be found on the Network website.

    5.More information about the Principles into Practice Awards 2010-11 can be found on the website. Shortlisted projects will be announced in January 2011 and the winners in each category will be announced at the best practice learning event on 18th March 2011.

    Contact: Giselle Dye or Lynne Veitch at Pagoda PR
    Phone: 0131 556 0770
    Email: Giselle.dye@pagodapr.com or lynne.veitch@pagodapr.com
    Website: http://www.principlesintopractice.net/about