Riots prevent mental health social workers doing their jobs

Riots across the country have prevented mental health social workers doing their jobs according to the College of Social Work.

Claire Barcham, professional development adviser for the College has sais that up to 60 mental health assessements have been delayed because police officers have been unable to accompany the visits.

Mental health professionals usually need to be accompanied by police with a court warrant if they are to enter a home to carry out an assessment.

"If we are having problems getting into court for our warrants, I would be concerned that may be happening to colleagues in children and families services and elsewhere," said Barcham. "It shows how essential the police are to so many aspects of the harder end of social care."

Steve Chamberlain, an AMHP spokesperson for the College of Social Work and a London-based practitioner, said police had told a number of mental health teams in the capital that they would be unable to attend assessments for at least two days.

"We understand the pressures they are under," he said.

Many of the people who are waiting to be assessed are severely depressed or show signs of mental or psychotic illness and are likely to end up in hospital where they can be observed and treated, said Chamberlain.

"Generally there are concerns that if things aren't dealt with rapidly there's a risk of the person harming themselves through self-neglect, actively harming themselves or, in a small number of cases, harming others, though this is usually someone they know," he said.

Source: Community Care

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Last Updated : 11 August 2011. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.