10th - 16th May is Mental Health Awareness Week - an annual event aimed at raising awareness of mental health and mental wellbeing. 

Here are some client stories that show how POhWER has helped people who have a mental health condition:

Camilla’s Story

Camilla is 19 years old and lives at a local care home which specialises in support for people with a learning disability. Camilla was on a Community Treatment Order (CTO) under the Mental Health Act (MHA) which meant she was receiving treatment for her mental health condition at the care home and there were some restrictions on what she could do. Camilla struggles with poor memory which makes it difficult for her to pay attention and understand what she is told. She wants to have no restrictions on what she can do and where she can go but lacks insight into danger and how to keep herself safe.

 

A referral was made to POhWER for an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) and our advocate Sally started supporting Camilla. During a phone call Camilla told Sally that she thought she was coming off the CTO but she wasn’t sure and was confused about what this meant for her. Sally had not been told about a review of Camilla’s CTO by the mental health professionals. Camilla explained that she had wanted Sally to be at the review to support and help her understand the information provided, but had been told that only three professionals could attend. Camilla gave Sally permission to contact the manager of her care home and the mental health team to find out more about her CTO.

Sally spoke to the care home manager, Linda, who was aware that a CTO review had taken place but had not been invited to it and did not know the outcome. When she heard that the CTO may have ended Linda was immediately worried for Camilla’s safety. She was also concerned that the home may be breaking the law and breaching Camilla’s Human Rights by continuing with the restrictions put in place when she was on the CTO.

Sally put in a challenge to the mental health team as she felt this was possibly a ‘misuse of the Mental Health Act’ and there were concerns about information not being shared with all the relevant professionals involved in Camilla’s care and treatment. Sally also requested a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting.

Before the MDT meeting Sally spoke with Camilla and noted down what she wanted including:

  • to know the actual status of her CTO
  • to have more hours to go out
  • to have control of her own finances
  • to be able to go out locally unescorted.

In the MDT meeting Sally communicated Camilla’s wishes. It was confirmed that Camilla was no longer on a CTO and that no further restrictions on escorted leave or hours of leave were in place. The Responsible Clinician agreed to complete a financial capacity assessment with Camilla.  Staff at the care home agreed to continue to support Camilla, by escorting her when she went out, with the priority of keeping her safe and well. 

Camilla had struggled to communicate with professionals but with Sally’s support she was able to be informed, understand her options and voice her wishes. Camilla now has a full understanding of her rights in coming off the CTO. Advocacy support promoted regular MDT meetings to keep all those involved in Camilla’s care and treatment informed so they can provide the best care and support as well as exploring ways to keep Camilla safe and well with the aim of progression and  preventing re-sectioning.

Sally supported Camilla to uphold her Human Rights including the right to freedom of expression and the right to liberty and security.

Jabari’s Story – Mental Health Awareness

Jabari was receiving care and treatment as a detained patient under section 3 of the Mental Health Act at a local Mental Health Unit. Jabari had previously been homeless for many years, living on the streets. He has no family or friends to support him and had recently had to have his leg amputated due to a physical health condition. Jabari has a general dislike of people, especially professionals, stemming from traumatic experiences in his childhood. He can be verbally and physically aggressive towards staff and other patients and finds verbal communication difficult.

A referral was made to POhWER for an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) to support Jabari at a section 117 meeting. Section 117 is the part of the Mental Health Act which gives a person the right to free after-care when they leave hospital after having been detained. The meeting would look at Jabari’s discharge and after-care arrangements.

Our advocate Kay visited Jabari at the Mental Health Unit. She ensured that he understood what the section 117 meeting would involve and that he would have the opportunity to tell the professionals what he wanted to happen when he was discharged. Jabari accepted Kay’s offer to attend the meeting with him and to support him to prepare for it.

Together Jabari and Kay looked at his options, his wishes and the points he wanted to make in the meeting. Jabari said he did not want to live in a care home or supported housing as he did not want to be around other people. They discussed what options were realistic based on his needs, the support he required to take his medication, eat and keep himself and his home clean. Kay told Jabari about extra care accommodation which would mean that he would have his own independent flat whilst still receiving the care he required. Kay made notes and ensured that they both had a copy of the notes at the meeting.

Jabari was clear that he wanted to attend the meeting so Kay made sure that ward staff knew the date and time so they could help him get ready on the day. Kay also informed the Section 117 review team who were surprised as Jabari had previously refused all interaction and therapies.

At the meeting Jabari, with support from Kay, communicated his wishes about discharge from the unit and aftercare. He explained that he did not like living in the care home as the other residents make him angry and therefore wanted his own accommodation. The team explained that due to his needs that this was not a viable option and would not be granted. Jabari got upset and began shouting but Kay reminded him of the extra care accommodation they had talked about. Jabari and the team discussed this as an option.

The Ward Manager did not think extra care accommodation would be suitable for him due to his aggression. Kay suggested that Jabari’s aggression may be aggravated by his current setting and the number of people he was with and his aggression may decrease if he had his own space. She suggested that he should be given the opportunity to have some independence and that extra care accommodation would be the least restrictive measure.

It was agreed that the team would identify potential extra care accommodation placements for Jabari to view.

Jabari visited each of the potential extra care accommodation placements and picked the one he liked best. It provides him with his own flat, daily care and three cooked meals a day.

Jabari had struggled to communicate with staff but with the support of an advocate he was able to understand his options and voice his wishes. Being involved and listened to helped Jabari to feel empowered and in control of some aspects of his care. Kay also supported Jabari to uphold his Human Right to a private life.