There are many solicitors who provide support and legal representation for mentally ill patients through legal aid. If your loved one has gone into Residential Placement they can advise you on the recent rules applied to vulnerable adults in residential settings under the Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2015. Ensure that your solicitor is a member of the Law Society, and a member of the Mental Health Lawyers Association.
If you are seeking help for your loved one and need to find a psychiatrist or psychologist ensure that they have a speciality in
- Intellectual Disability Psychiatry
- Rehab and Social Psychiatry
- Autism and Asperger’s Psychiatry
Also, ensure they are a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Fellow of the Royal College of Psychologists. If you are going privately, you may still need a referral letter from your GP or you can ask that particular Doctor how they see patients.
Mental Health Organizations
There are several organizations that provide assistance if you are experiencing mental health problems and you don’t know what to do?
Rethink Mental Illness Advice Services
T: 0300 5000 927
Mind: 15-19 Broadway, Stratford, London, E15 4BQ
T: 020 8519 2122
F: 020 8522 1725
T: 116 123
T: 0300 304 7000 (from 4:30pm to 10:30pm daily).
A crisis resolution and home treatment is a team of mental health professionals who try to intervene if you are having a crisis at home. However, if you are a new patient you will need to be referred either by the GP or the A&E Department.
The police service are being over-used as a “first resort” for dealing with mental health crisis, and this is not appropriate and can be very frightening for someone who is in distress. It is important that families have an action plan if your loved one’s mental health deteriorates and discuss with your GP, Psychologist or Psychiatrist in advance.
Autistic adults should have a key Social Worker who they can contact if they need to discuss options in accessing residential placement, or if they need aftercare once they leave the hospital. The Hospital Discharge Co-ordinator can refer to the key Social Worker and have them as part of the discharge planning process.
The NHS Trust provide free mental health services and point of access is through the GP. If your loved one is not in an acute crisis you are entitled legally to choose a specific mental health provider to give support and do an assessment. It is important to note that the referral to mental health services can take up to 18 weeks. The GP is essentially the gatekeeper for the services and it is important to allow time for the appointment, and write down the symptoms and keep a copy for yourself. Ensure you have regular follow-up appointments with the GP until you get seen. The GP can provide psychiatric medicine but that takes time to become effective (up to 3-4 weeks).
The Ombudsman is an independent parliamentary officer with responsibility to investigate complaints if you have not had an issue resolved at the local level, or you received an unsatisfactory answer. The complaint has to be made within a year of when you were aware of the problem with the Trust or Social Services.