Mental Health Social Care Services
- Our services
- Mental Health Social Work Teams
- Mental Health Act and Assessments
- Who decides that someone should be detained?
- In emergencies
- Who to contact if you have concerns
Services, advice and contacts for adults with mental health needs and their carers.
As well as supporting people with high levels of needs, we aim to:
- promote independence and enable people to live supported in their own homes where possible
- increase opportunities for choice
- work with partner organisations to promote health and wellbeing.
We work in partnership with the NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust to provide the best service to people with mental health needs. We also work with a range of voluntary organisations.
The mental health teams provide specialist services for adults over 18 years of age. We have three teams who collaborate closely with health professionals. The team supports people to recover from periods of difficulty with their mental health and for people to stay as independent as possible by providing support that is person-centred which gives people choice and control in their lives.
Referral to these teams is usually done in conjunction with your GP and the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.
Mental Health Act and Assessments
In most cases, when people are treated in hospital or another mental health facility they have agreed or volunteered to be there. They may be referred to as a "voluntary patient".
However, there are cases when a person can be detained (also known as sectioned) under the Mental Health Act (1983) and treated without their agreement. The Mental Health Act (1983) is the main piece of legislation that covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder.
People detained under the Mental Health Act need urgent treatment for a mental health disorder and are at risk of harm to themselves or others.
In most non-emergency cases, family members, a GP, carer or other professionals may voice concerns about your mental health. They should discuss this with you and together you should make a decision about what help you may need, such as making an appointment with your GP to discuss further options.
However, there may be times when there are sufficient concerns about your mental health and your ability to make use of the help offered. In these circumstances, your relatives or the professionals involved in your care can ask for a formal assessment of your mental health through the Mental Health Act process.
Your nearest relative has the right to ask the local approved mental health professional service which is provided by the Council.
A range of factsheets which explain in simple terms your rights and choices when you are detained under the Mental Health Act are available from the NHS Choices website
Who decides that someone should be detained?
An emergency is when someone seems to be at serious risk of harming themselves or others.
- private premises– police have powers to enter your home, if need be by force, under a section 135 warrant. You may then be taken to a place of safety for an assessment by an approved mental health professional and a doctor. You can be kept there until the assessment is completed, up to a maximum of 72 hours.
- in a public place– if the police find you in a public place and you appear to have a mental disorder and be in need of immediate care or control, they can take you to a place of safety (usually a hospital or sometimes the police station) and detain you there under Section 136. You'll then be assessed by an approved mental health professional and a doctor. You can be kept there until the assessment is completed, up to a maximum of 72 hours
If you are already in hospital, certain nurses can stop you leaving under Section 5(4) until the doctor in charge of your care or treatment or their nominated deputy can make a decision about whether to detain you there under Section 5(2).
Section 5(4) gives nurses the ability to detain someone in hospital for up to six hours. Section 5(2) gives doctors the ability to detain someone in hospital for up to 72 hours, during which time you should receive an assessment that decides if further detention under the Mental Health Act is necessary.
Who to contact if you have concerns
If you, a friend or relative are in need of urgent medical assistance please call 999. If it is less urgent please dial 111.
If you have any concerns about your mental wellbeing and are experiencing mental health problems for the first time please contact your General Practitioner (GP).
If you are not registered with a doctor, visit the GP search on the NHS Choices website to find your local GP surgery.
Wiltshire Council’s Emergency Duty Service is the social work crisis service provided by Wiltshire Council outside normal office hours, at night and over weekends and bank holidays. The service is provided to help with personal or family problems that reach a crisis at these times.
Reviewed September 2017 updated September 2017