Highlighting the role of Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHP)

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in Mental health, News on 29th June, 2017

The role of the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) is often misunderstood, even within the mental health services and local authorities they work in.

On Thursday 29 June, we are joining the Adult Principal Social Work Network to highlight the role of the AMHP and the practice that social workers, nurses and occupational therapists bring to it, through #AMHP17

One of the purposes of the day will be to begin to promote a wider understanding and appreciation of the role, its central importance in relation to mental health legislation and the promotion of the rights of individuals and their loved ones.

What are AMHPs?

AMHPs are mental health professionals who have been approved by a local social services authority to carry out certain duties under the Mental Health Act. They are responsible for coordinating your assessment and admission to hospital if you are sectioned.

They may be: social workers; nurses; occupational therapists; psychologists

In this short video, Megan Hornsby from our Devon AMHP Team explains what is needed to become an AMHP.

2016 was a landmark year for our AMHPs. The daytime service completed a two year process of re-design culminating in winning the national Social Worker Team of the Year - Adult Services Award.

The Daytime AMHP Team, represented here by Megan Hornsby and Louise Wheavil, were presented with their award by Heather Wakefield from award sponsor UNISON and James Rook from headline sponsor Sanctuary Social Care.

(L) Jennie Stephens - Chief Officer Adult Care and Health, Robert Lewis AMHP Service Manager, Nicky Stares AMHP Team Manager, Cllr Stuart Barker (R)

In Devon, AMHPs carry out their roles across the Emergency Duty Service, Devon Partnership NHS Trust and the Health and Social Care Community Teams often in very challenging conditions and often at the point of greatest crisis and risk for individuals and their loved ones.

Central to the role of the AMHP is the ability to make sound legal decisions around the use of compulsory powers in a way that is both lawful and promotes the autonomy of the individual, while safeguarding the person, the family and the wider public.

Often faced with the challenges of detaining someone to a place of safety to await assessment and then finding beds with the involvement and resources of other agencies and professionals, the AMHP can often find themselves working way past their finishing time, as they keep the welfare of the individual at the centre of their considerations.

In this short video, Megan from our Devon AMHP Team tells us what working in mental health is really like.

Using this national day as a springboard, AMHP services across the country will be seeking to promote the role and the work of the AMHP over the next twelve months through a number of events, publications and opportunities for others to learn more. The AMHP service in Devon will be looking to provide similar opportunities for colleagues both within the local authority and Partnership Trust, as well as partner agencies and those who find themselves coming into contact with the Mental Health Act.

What’s happening in the future?

Look out for announcements about upcoming events. In the meantime, why not test out your existing knowledge with this quick AMHP quiz from Devon County Council!

This year will also see further welcome developments in the AMHP service provision across Devon. We are expecting to warrant our first psychiatric nurse and occupational therapist AMHPs this summer.

Three new trainee AMHPs for north Devon are being put forward for the training in September after a significant challenge in past years to recruit. Robert Lewis – AMHP Service Manager for the daytime service – will be speaking in July at the National AMHP Leads Conference in London on service design and the development of national standards for AMHP services.

In this short video, Megan from our Devon AMHP Team, explains why she became an AMHP.

While on-going developmental work is under way to further improve the legal safeguards for patients and nearest relatives and encourage the views and input of those two groups into how we approach the work.

Thanks to AMHP Service Manager Robert Lewis and Devon County Council Communications Team for providing this information.