Change that leads to better lives

Experiences of the Mental Health Act and the role of professionals involved

This paper provides a review of research into the experiences of the MHA and the role of professionals involved. The document is intended for practitioners who work with people with mental health problems to help inform their work.

It includes:

An overview of the quantity and quality of the research in this area

  • A summary of the studies reviewed
  • Some key findings
  • A summary of areas identified for future research
  • A table detailing the research studies reviewed and their relevant findings

to read the review document in full click here

Key Findings:

  • Several of the studies focus on the role of various professionals and staff involved in the process including police, health professionals and mental health professionals involved in the process – a consistent theme in more positive experiences of detention under the MHA is the importance of warmth, empathy, reassurance, respect and positivity of individual members of staff.
  • Negative experiences include poor communication, information about treatment plans and lack of involvement in decision-making, coercion, excessive force, being made to feel like a criminal, and finding the experience disempowering, frightening, distressing and dehumanising.

This document is part of a series of 'introduction to research’ papers produced for Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I).

Other documents within the series include:

C&I’s academics have a strong track record in research around social interventions for people with mental ill health. The papers do not claim to be a comprehensive account of all evidence available in this area. Instead they are provided for those who are keen to know what research already exists, where to find it and what areas might usefully be further explored.

Our thanks to Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust for agreeing to share the work.

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