We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

The New Mental Health Act: An Easy Read Guide

Listen

09 Health Boards and local authorities

Cartoon illustration to support information

  • How should my local authority help me?
  • How do they help to keep me safe?
  • What happens if I am too ill to make decisions?
  • What happens if I refuse to have treatment?
  • How should my Health Board help me?
  • How do they work together?

How should my local authority help me?

Your local authority should give you care and support services when you are not in hospital. This is to help you to live as well as possible.

They should help you to:

  • find a suitable home
  • have training
  • find a job or to keep a job you already have
  • take part in leisure activities
  • to travel to do these things.

If you are in hospital they may still be able to help.

Cartoon illustration to support information

How should my local authority help to keep me safe?

Your local authority should make enquiries if it thinks that you are not safe. This means they should find out what you need to keep you safe.

They do this if they think:

  • there is a problem with your care or treatment
  • your property may be lost or damaged
  • you are unable to look after your money
  • some other person may be unsafe because of your illness.

Local authorities must employ mental health officers. Mental health officers have special training to help people who have a mental disorder. They:

  • prepare care plans
  • prepare reports
  • tell you about your rights.

Your local authority can ask others to help:

  • Mental Welfare Commission
  • Public Guardian
  • Care Commission
  • Health Board

Mental health officer: a specially trained social worker who helps people who have a mental disorder. He/she should tell you about your rights and make sure you get the care you need.

What happens if I am ill and cannot decide about treatment ?

Your mental health officer:

  • talks to you if you need to be detained under the Act. Detained means you are taken to hospital for treatment. You have to stay in hospital even if you do not want this
  • applies for a compulsory treatment order ( CTO).

This means you have treatment even if you do not want this.

If you need these things, your mental health officer must tell your named person and the Mental Welfare Commission.

What happens if I refuse to have treatment?

Chrissie is ill but refuses to speak to her mental health officer, Elaine. Elaine asks the court for special permission to come to Chrissie's home and to see her medical records. The court also gives Elaine permission to hold Chrissie for up to Time Logo 3 hours until a doctor examines her.

Named person: someone you choose to look out for you if you have to have treatment.

Mental Welfare Commission: the organisation that looks after those who need help because of a mental disorder. They make sure all treatment follows the law. You can speak to them at any time if you are unhappy about your care and treatment.

How should my Health Board help me?

Your Health Board should give you care and treatment if you are ill.

They should have doctors with special training to help people with a mental disorder. They should keep a list of these doctors in their area.

Mother and baby

They should help you to care for your child in hospital if you want to. Your child should be under 1 year old.

Shannon has a new baby. She feels a bit depressed. Her doctor says she should go to hospital for treatment. Shannon is worried about her baby. The doctor tells her the hospital will help her to look after the baby in hospital.

Cartoon illustration to support information

How do they work together?

Your Health Board and your local authority must work together to help you.

The Health Board must help the local authority when they are making enquiries about you.

Cartoon illustration to support information

Local authorities and NHS Boards must make sure that you can have an independent advocate.

An independent advocate gives you support and helps you to tell others what you think about your care and treatment. They are called "independent" because they are not tied to other services. Your doctor, hospital or social work department should help you find an independent advocate.

What if I am under 18?

If you need to go to hospital your Health Board should give you the services and living space you need.

They should do this whether you agreed to go to hospital or have been told to go to hospital.

Your local authority should make sure you get your education.

They must support you and your parent or guardian. They must help you both if the treatment is causing difficulties for your relationship.