People must be at the heart of new mental health policy with a better system of family support, according to a special report following a parliamentary enquiry led by Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham.
The report, Social Workers and a New Mental Health Act, undertaken by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Social Work which Alex chairs, stressed the new for financial support for families to visit relatives placed in mental health facilities away from their home area.
The inquiry, which followed an independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983, also spoke of the need to focus on socio-economic factors and said the Government have a “once in generation chance” to produce mental health legislation fit for the twenty-first century.
Working with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), the APPG on Social Work, specifically examined how social workers played a role in ensuring patients and service users are at the heart of the Mental Health Act. The APPG heard evidence from social workers, university academics and local authorities.
Social approaches to mental, such as an understanding of family dynamics, background, and education, are all too often side-lined despite the best efforts of social workers. It is also crucial that there is a better understanding of the role of social workers in the system including their unique duties and I hope the report helps achieve that.
The recommendations in the report affect people across the country – and could have a positive impact on their lives and those of their families. Simple things like funding to visit relatives placed away from home could make a tremendous difference.
More information can be found here: https://www.basw.co.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-research/working-parliament