‘Waiting for the verdict’: the experience of being assessed under the Mental Health Act

Louise Blakley, Carolyn Asher, Angela Etherington, Joanna Maher, Emma Wadey, Valerie Walsh, Sandra Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Following the Independent Mental Health Act review, there is increasing focus on this coercive part of mental health services and a call for service user views to be central to proposed changes. Although there are numerous studies into being detained in hospital, there is a lack of data exploring the service user experiences of the assessment process.

Aim: To explore the subjective experience of being assessed under the Mental Health Act (MHA).

Method: 10 participants were interviewed about their recent assessment experience and the transcribed interviews were analysed using framework approach.

Results: The overarching theme of person centred care emerged from these interviews with interconnecting sub themes: 1) information and options; 2) “the barrage of three”; 3) “sit down and listen”; and 4) service user voice.

Conclusion: As one of the first studies into service user experiences of MHA assessments, this exploratory study indicates that there is lack of person centeredness. The Independent Mental Health Act review has set a challenge for treating person as individual and increasing rights and involvement of service users. This study suggests service user’s experiences do not yet meet this aspiration and they want to discuss these experiences and have their voices heard.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date19 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 19 May 2021

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