Volume 1 • Issue 6 • 2007

Welcome to Overcoming
The monthly newsletter for primary care mental health workers

As publishers of the Overcoming series – a range of self-help guides and assisted self-help courses based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Techniques – we aim to broaden access to assisted self-help by providing excellent resources and support to people working on the front line. October has been a busy time for the mental health sector, and in this, our sixth newsletter, we'll bring you up to date with all the changes. Don't forget you can also get in touch if you have any questions by emailing nova@overcoming.co.uk

The Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act is now in force. It provides a framework for protecting the rights of people who are unable to make their own decisions due to a learning disability or mental illness. Carers and professionals now have clear guidelines, and those without friends or family to represent them can leave instructions or turn to an independent advocate.

The Act has five key principles:

  • Every adult has the right to make his or her own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity to make them unless it is proved otherwise.
  • A person must be given all practicable help before anyone treats them as not being able to make their own decisions.
  • Just because an individual makes what might be seen as an unwise decision, they should not be treated as lacking capacity to make that decision.
  • Anything done or any decision made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done in their best interests.
  • Anything done for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms.

The full Act can be viewed online here: www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2005/20050009.htm

The Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts: speak your mind
The Mental Health Act has been a controversial bill, and campaigners have fought hard over the last eight years to preserve some of the basic human rights of people with mental health conditions. The Code of Practice which details how the Act will be implemented has now been released.

Although it is acknowledged that there have been some significant gains around age-appropriate treatment and the right to advocacy, the creation of community treatment orders and the wider definition of mental illness have been met with criticism. Additionally, advocates feel that the opportunity to introduce the right to treatment and choice has been missed and checks on the power of clinicians have been blocked. There are also questions on how the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts will work together, as the latter does not apply if a person is detained under the former.

The Department of Health is consulting on the new Acts and draft code of practice, and this will directly impact the way you do your job. Give your views here: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Policyandguidance/Healthandsocialcaretopics/ Mentalhealth/DH_079861/; and here: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_078052/

Meeting the costs of mental illness
The Treasury has announced 30 targets across government departments which will determine how public money is spent and what the required outcomes are. Two of these public service agreements - one on employment and housing and the other on discrimination - relate directly to mental health. In addition, the Department of Health has been given more money to increase services.

If you come into contact with carers it’s worth checking they know about the new changes and that there are likely to be even more when the Government reviews its National Carers Strategy. Caring is a tough job and a bit of good news can go a long way!

The mental health charity Rethink was active in campaigning for the targets, and has summarized the benefits to mental health:

  • people with mental illness should be given talking therapies;
  • supported living arrangements should be offered to people;
  • people should be offered special employment support and advice;
  • a new strategy will be written on prison mental health;
  • more charities should be involved in delivering services; everyone needing help should have one person who they can turn to;
  • people should get help with managing money;
  • people using services, and their families, should be asked their views about the support they get.

This is exciting news with an unlimited potential for positive impact on your work. We're keen to hear what you think, so please let us know. You can read the full report here: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/pbr_csr/report/pbr_csr07_repindex.cfm/

Competition time
Now that the Treasury has pledged to support the implementation of talking treatments for people affected by mental ill health, there has never been a better time to try out the Overcoming range of CBT self-help courses. To win a free set of our "Introduction to Coping With..." books, simply answer the following question: What are the six mental health disorders covered by the "Introduction to Coping With..." series? Email the answer to newseditor@overcoming.co.uk (don't forget to include your name and address) by 18 November; the first name chosen at random will win.

What's in your diary?
Nov—Dec 2007

13/11 • Personality Disorder: A Diagnosis of Inclusion? St Albans Centre, London

People with personality disorder often have co-existing disorders and multiple services needs, requiring diverse skills from a range of partners. This conference will explore the work being done by agencies from different settings and sectors.

Tel: 0870 890 1080

14/11 • The Mental Capacity Act in Practice: Moving Forward, Manchester Conference Centre

The Act affects every medical speciality. This practical case-study-based conference provides guidance on how the Act influences different areas of health and social care.

Tel: 020 8541 1399

22/11 • Childhood Obesity and Eating Disorders, Hilton, Glasgow

Focused on childhood obesity and eating disorders, this conference aims to provide a comprehensive knowledge update, practical information and a meeting place for networking and educational resources.

Tel: 0141 201 9353/9264

14/11 — 27/11 • Access to Justice: Creating Equality For People with Mental Health Problems, Regents College Conference Centre, London

A conference exploring how different methods of involvement are making a real difference to the delivery and creation of new and existing health services across the UK.

Tel: 020 8215 2312

4/12 • Mental Health Today, Business Design Centre, London

A one-day event providing opportunities for mental health professionals, service users and those interested in working in the sector to network, debate key issues and share best practice.

Tel: 0870 890 1080

5—6/12 • NICE 2007: Evidence into Practice, Central Convention Complex, Manchester

This event will look at how NICE uses expert advice and evidence to develop guidance. It will offer practical and realistic examples of the best ways to turn recommendations into reality for those working in the NHS and the wider public health community.

Tel: 020 7067 5800

Quote of the month

We have the means and the capacity to deal with our problems, if only we can find the political will

Kofi Annan

Email enquiries@overcoming.co.uk to add your key dates to our calendar.
Questions or comments? E-mail us at enquiries@overcoming.co.uk.
If you no longer want to receive this newsletter, email nova@overcoming.co.uk.
Registered Number: 05300094 England.

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