What is it about the people on mental Health Teams, specifically ‘approved social workers’?
One of the jobs of the team is to go out into the community to carry out mental health assessments. Understandibly, some people don’t like the thought of being banged up in an institution & therefore don’t go willingly. The mental health team has the power, under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act, to detain them for an assessment & take them to the local psychy ward.
Some people don’t want to be detained, so much so that they actually refuse to go! This usually stymies approved social workers who just don’t know what to do next. What they can do is use reasonable force to take someone who’s been sectioned to hospital. What they usually do is ring up on 999 & demand an immediate police attendance so they can hand over all responsibility for dealing with the person to the police.
We don’t like being at their beck & call and usually have better, more important things to do than cajoling an 80-year old ‘potentially violent’ (they’re all potentially violent for approved social workers) into a police car (because the social worker never booked an ambulance) & tying up a police resource for the rest of the shift, so we often tell approved social workers we’re not going to assist them. This doesn’t go down very well, with social workers, because they either have to take some action or leave. They usually leave because they don’t like taking any ‘action’ and they think by leaving it hands over responsibility to the police who they demand start looking for the sectioned patient and bring them to hospital.
All this has come about because the mental health team haven’t followed established protocols, go off and do it half-cocked and then scream & shout when they can’t cope and have to call the police.
Working with our ‘partners’, when they can be bothered to include us in the planning stages.