Approved Mental Health Professional Service
The service responds to referrals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Approved Mental Health Professionals may be qualified social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, or psychologists who have gained an additional qualification which allows them to undertake the Approved Mental Health Professional Service role.
Approved Mental Health Professionals are able to make an application under a section of the Mental Health Act to detain a person in hospital for a period of assessment or treatment. Most of Worcestershire's Approved Mental Health Professionals are social workers, though some are nurses.
When a Mental Health Act (MHA) assessment might be required
An assessment under the Mental Health Act may be arranged when a person is thought to be suffering from a mental disorder and is considered to pose a risk to themselves or others.
Prior to requesting a Mental Health Act assessment, consideration should be given to whether there may be other ways to support the person, such as input from a Community Mental Health Team or Crisis Team, a review of social care needs, family support or help from the GP.
The purpose of the assessment is to consider whether it is necessary to detain a person in hospital under a section of the Mental Health Act.
A person will only be detained under the Mental Health Act if their care and treatment can no longer be provided safely in the community, and they are unwilling (or unable) to agree to go into hospital (or stay in hospital) voluntarily.
A person may need to have a Mental Health Act assessment if
There is a rapid and serious deterioration in their mental health; or
There is a gradual decline over a longer period which has reached a critical point; and
The person or those around them are at significant risk of harm as a result of their current mental health needs.
How to make a referral to the Approved Mental Health Professional service
To make a referral for a Mental Health Act Assessment please call 01905 846877 this number is available 24/7 365 days a year.
Please be aware we cannot take referrals for assessments via email.
After the referral is made
Various professionals can request a Mental Health Act assessment. For example, a psychiatrist, GP, care co-ordinator, social worker, nurse, or a police officer.
A ‘Nearest Relative’ can also ask the Approved Mental Health Professional service to consider a referral. (Under Section 13(4) of the Mental Health Act). Please note that a Nearest Relative is defined by S26 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and is not necessarily the same person as the ‘next of kin’.
Contact a GP or community mental health team first before contacting the Approved Mental Health Professional Service.
There are also voluntary agencies that may be useful sources of support.
Once a referral is received by the Approved Mental Health Professional service, the Team Manager will screen the referral to ensure that a Mental Health Act assessment is appropriate. The Team Manager will contact the referrer to discuss the circumstances in more detail.
The Team manager will check whether other ways of helping the person with their mental health have been tried first, which might prevent the need to use the Mental Health Act (for example, involving a crisis team or arranging for a review of the person's social care needs).
If a Mental Health Act assessment is appropriate, an Approved Mental Health Professional will be asked to arrange the assessment.
Referrals are prioritised based on a risk assessment and the needs of the person or others.
Approved Mental Health Professionals undertake Mental Health Act assessments alongside authorised doctors. A Mental Health Act assessment may take place at the home address, in a hospital (if the person is already an inpatient), in an A&E department or other place of safety.
An important part of the Approved Mental Health Professional role is to make sure all alternatives to detaining someone in hospital have been considered. To help them decide whether an application to detain someone should be made, the Approved Mental Health Professional will consult with professionals involved in the person's care as well as speaking to family members and carers to seek their views.
The Approved Mental Health Professional will attempt to speak to the person's nearest relative. There are some instances where a person's nearest relative can object to the Approved Mental Health Professional making an application to detain the person in hospital, so their views are extremely important.
During the assessment the Approved Mental Health Professional will make sure that the person being assessed is fully informed about what is happening. The Approved Mental Health Professional will make sure the person is able to participate as fully as they can in the assessment and that their views and wishes are listened to. Family members or carers can also be present if the person being assessed wants them to be.
The Approved Mental Health Professional and doctors will ask the person some questions to help them understand what the person is going through and how best to help them. The Approved Mental Health Professional and doctors will also be trying to establish whether the person is suffering from a mental disorder and whether any risks mean that hospital admission is necessary.
After the Assessment
The Approved Mental Health Professional will explain the outcome of the assessment to the person being assessed. If a decision is made to detain the person in hospital the Approved Mental Health Professional will make sure the person understands the reasons for this decision and what this means. The Approved Mental Health Professional will talk to the person about their legal rights under the Mental health Act (MHA)
The Approved Mental Health Professional will also inform the nearest relative of the outcome of the assessment, the reasons for the decision and the nearest relative's rights under the Mental Health Act
Where hospital admission is necessary, the doctor will contact the NHS Mental Health Trust's bed management team to request that a bed be identified. The bed management team will inform the Approved Mental Health Professional of the hospital where the bed has been identified.
Once a bed is confirmed the Approved Mental Health Professional can complete their application to detain the person to that hospital. The Approved Mental Health Professional will make arrangements for the admission and for the most appropriate transport to the hospital.
Throughout this process the Approved Mental Health Professional will consider any risks to the person or to others and will ensure the person is treated with dignity and respect.
Information and support
For urgent mental health help or advice call 0808 196127 for more information follow link below;
Use the NHS111 online help service or phone NHS111 if you need urgent help for your mental health, but it’s not an emergency - for example, if you need medication or a prescription and you're unable to contact your GP.
Worcestershire Safe Haven provides telephone support and face-to-face appointments to Worcestershire residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Call 01905 600400 any day of the week between 6pm and midnight for support and signposting.
Other support available
Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for a reply within 24 hours
Text "SHOUT" to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text "YM" if you're under 19
If you're under 19, you can call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline. The number will not appear on your phone bill.