Q: My son developed mental health problems and epilepsy after his father’s death. He then started taking recreational drugs because he heard they might help. They didn’t. He became irrational, stole money for drugs, and regularly forgot his epilepsy medication. I got him into residential rehab, and all went well until he wanted to return home. Since then, his mental health has deteriorated further. If he was formally detained under the Mental Health Act, would he have a right to aftercare services, as I feel this would make a big difference.
A: Your son can receive community care services whether he’s been detained or not. Under the Care Act he’s entitled to receive services to meet his eligible needs, as assessed by the local and health authorities.
Additionally, anyone who has been detained under a treatment section of the Mental Health Act (usually s3 or 37) has a statutory right under s117 of the Act to receive community care services to meet any need arising out of a mental disorder. One crucial difference between services provided under the Care Act and services provided under s117 is that the latter are not means tested and cannot be charged for.
However, if you are detained under section 2 of the MHA, this doesn’t entitle you to services under s.117. Services that can be provided under s.117 include regular visits from social workers, support workers and community psychiatric nurses; supported accommodation; psychological therapies and employment support.
Your son’s local social services authority, together with the Integrated Care System (ICS) in England or the Local Health Board in Wales, are responsible for providing s.117 aftercare services. Disputes about which of them is going to provide and pay for the aftercare are not uncommon and seeking advice from a mental health lawyer can help prevent such disputes from delaying discharge.
Aftercare services under s117 will continue to be provided until such time as the responsible authorities are satisfied they are no longer required.
This question has been answered by Andy Howarth, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194