Birmingham celebrates its mental health professionals

By on 29/06/2017 in News

Bridget Sullivan-Blakeney (above) talks about her role as an AMHP

 

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, and Mental Health Champion, praises the work done by Birmingham City Council’s Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs).

Our social workers who are also Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) do a fantastic job, one that is generally hidden from the public gaze.

When someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs help, is referred to our team/services – whether by mental health crisis professionals, including home treatment teams, doctors, police and others, or by their family, our AMHPs step in to co-ordinate all other professional agencies in leading the Mental Health Act assessment for the person in need.

The AMHPs need an intimate knowledge of the Mental Health Act, other relevant legislation, of mental disorders and substance misuse, and the procedures and criteria of different agencies and services, as well as of local and city wide resources.

Ultimately, an AMHP has the power to detain someone under the Mental Health Act, so it is not only a highly skilled position but one that carries a huge amount of responsibility.

Of course, if the person in need can be looked after at home, supported within crisis resources, that is the ideal as the least restrictive outcome.  The AMHP ensures that the person is aware of their rights and treated with dignity and respect at all times, whilst also ensuring that the citizen, their family and the wider community is kept safe.

It is a balancing act that requires a range of skills including: communication, risk assessment, interviewing, analysing, negotiating conflicting views and challenging situations, whilst also being able to gain support from colleagues and partners.

We have a great team and service operating across Birmingham, as shown by this article in Community Care. And on National Approved Mental Health Professional Day, I’d like to thank them all for their work in helping those vulnerable people, who cannot always help themselves, at a time when they are often most vulnerable to being disempowered in their lives.

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