This panel discussion took place on 12 October 2020 to launch the publication of Adolescent Mental Health Care and the Law by Camilla Palmer. Camilla was joined by Polly Sweeney (Rook Irwin Sweeney), Kamena Dorling (Article 39), Dr Suyog Dhakras (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) and Steve Broach (39 Essex Chambers) for a 60-minute discussion on the main themes in the book and issues for practitioners working in this area.
The law relating to the mental health care of children and young people aged under 18 (‘adolescents’) is renowned for its complexity. This is unsurprising given that in relation to admission to hospital and treatment for mental disorder, it raises issues of uncertainty such as the limits of the decision-making powers as between parents and their children and the developing law on deprivation of liberty. More widely, the provision of mental health services for this age group involves a range of differing agencies and engages a raft of legislation, case-law, regulations, codes of practice and policy guidance across the differing fields of law: mental health, mental capacity, community care, family and children’s rights.
•This book seeks to demystify this area of law. It covers:
•an overview of the services forming the system known as ‘CAMHS’ (child and adolescent mental health services), including the responsibilities of local authorities for the provision of care to ‘children in need’, ‘looked after children’ and under 18s with special educational needs;
•decision-making by adolescents and those with parental responsibility, including the legal tests for capacity and competence and the determination of a deprivation of liberty;
•the application of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to under 18s, including an overview of the forthcoming ‘Liberty Protection Safeguards’;
•the rules for identifying ‘parental responsibility’ and the ‘nearest relative’;
•admission to hospital and treatment for mental disorder, both ‘informal’ and detention under the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983, including consideration of the ‘age appropriate environment duty’ and the on-going responsibilities of local authorities for under 18s receiving in-patient psychiatric care;
•discharge from hospital, focusing on the role of the Tribunal and specific issues for adolescents;
•after-care planning: how the various legal frameworks for the provision of health and social care apply to adolescents leaving hospital; and
•community powers: including community treatment orders (CTOs) and police powers.
In drawing together the differing legal frameworks that might apply to adolescents with mental health needs, this book seeks to bridge a gap in the information currently available. To date, resources concerned with mental health and/or mental capacity law, tend to focus on adults while those concerned with children’s services rarely consider the specific issues for adolescents with mental health needs, or how legal frameworks, such as provisions for looked after children, interact with the MHA 1983.
In addition to providing a resource for legal advisers such as those providing legal representation before the mental health tribunal, this book is also designed to be accessible to non-lawyers including professionals working in children’s services and mental health services (adult as well as children and young people’s services).
Community care, Family and children, Mental health