Important Changes to the Mental Health Services in America

1687 Words4 Pages

An important change that needs to happen within mental health services is for service users to be involved in all aspects of their care. This is called a working partnership where information is shared, choices are given and decisions are made together. The Department of Health (1999) states that service users should be involved in the planning and delivery of the care they receive. Drawing from course materials and external research this essay will discuss why developing this working relationship is important. It will look at past and current service provision, discuss what happens in practice, consider what change needs to take place for a working partnership to be achieved and how this relationship can benefit both service user and practitioner. The essay will also discuss whether there might be resistance to the idea of this working partnership and how these barriers might be addressed so that this change can be implemented in practice. To establish why a working partnership between the service user and practitioner is needed it is important to note that there have been many changes in mental health services since the 18th century when service users were labelled ‘lunatics’, shackled and treatment included beatings and being put on public display (The Open University, 2010g, p.94). This no longer happens but current legislation still focuses on controlling risk instead of considering a holistic approach where the whole person is considered. This can result in the service user not being included in decisions about their care, not given treatment options and sometimes being detained without consent (The Open University, 2010h, p.111). May (in the Open University, 2004b) is a practitioner and ex-service user, he states that me... ... middle of paper ... ...igning practitioner training programmes that include direct service user input. Current practices within services were discussed and highlighted a power imbalance between the service user and practitioner where the practitioner often holds all of the power and the views of the service user are often not considered. Possible resistance to a working partnership was discussed followed by suggestions to address these barriers to change. This highlighted that there are already policies in place that encourage a working partnership but Tait and Lester (2005) suggest there is no real evidence that these policies are being used regularly in practice. This essay has shown that a working partnership where the service user is involved in every aspect of their care is possible but policies and strategies need to be implemented and attitudes need to change for it to be achieved.

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