A day in the life and a bit part

Most people have no idea what an AMHP is or does & it is not my intention to explain it again here……But I am hopefully going to give you a glimpse into the world of the AMHP & illustrate where that world intersects with the family world of LD.

AMHPs get called when things happen - usually bad things.

These things can be big life changing events, catastrophic ones that change & touch all of us forever. The sort of thing that makes the national & local news, but we (AMHPs) will never be mentioned & that is ok (mostly).

These things can be small incremental changes/things, changes that occur over time & impact on a family’s ability to function & their ability to cope with “transition”. That is the word you hear; transition……it appears to mean different things to different people. But in terms of social work & the world of LD, I am quite sure, that we haven’t quite figured it out, or what it might mean. Too often the “transitioning” doesn’t go so well & it’s at that point, the AMHP is called for.

Like most AMHPs, I have limited LD experience & only get to play a bit part in peoples & families’ lives. Unfortunately, I have a very limited box of tricks in my AMHP bag. I bring the Mental Health Act (The Jones) & the Code of Practice & pink forms. I bring the Mental Capacity Act (& CoP), I was a BIA by the way. If you are lucky, I bring Care Act & I tend to pack the Human Rights Act, somewhere in my bag. My bag is a bit like the Tardis ;-) So, it has all gone Pete Tong & we get the call. We get the call from the good doctor or nurse usually, telling us, that it has all gone wrong & that the solution to the problem is a Section 2, to an ATU, usually an unspecified ATU.

This Grumpy AMHP often says really? That’s the solution? The good doctor & nurse talk about risk to self & others & tell me that the family/carers cannot manage (cope any longer) & tell me that we need to do the right thing. I am not always convinced that it is the right thing, but too often it’s the only thing. So, like a good little AMHP, off I venture with my S.12 medic to see your LD dude & you. Things are not good & you know this better than me…… we talk about helping you & your dude. Please remember that’s what I want to do, that’s what you want me to do & that is what I get paid to do. We talk about options & risk a respite & assessment & then (sometimes) I fill in a pink form. That pink form is an application to an ATU to detain the dude for up to 28 days for Assessment. Of course, we got to get the dude there first. But you help me with that & the job is done & I have played my bit part & was the solution.

But here is where it all goes wrong, the 28 days isn’t long enough, the RC needs longer to assess & treat the dude & the likes of me is summonsed again. I consult you & you don’t object. I tell you & the dude all about your rights to appeal to a Tribunal & about your power to discharge. If you object & not many do by the way, I have a legal duty to consider displacing you as the Nearest Relative. I didn’t want to do that. You don’t want me to do that……I make an application for a S.3 & again my bit part is over…………. It’s some bit part this really.

  • I wish I could do more.
  • I wish I got called less.
  • I wish the MHA & the ATU were not the solution.
  • I wish Care in the Community was like a real thing.
  • I want national & local politicians & big Local Authority cheeses to do more.
  • I want to live in a society that doesn’t “other” people.

It has been a huge privilege to meet & talk with some of you, even if it is mostly via the interesting world of Twitter.

Keep up the fight & do not go gentle into that good night.