The Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) role is specific to the Mental Health Act 1983 (and its subsequent amendments) and applies to England and Wales. The equivalent role in Scotland is known as a Mental Health Officer.
Often moving from careers in social work, mental health and disabilities nursing, occupational therapy and practitioner psychology, AMHPs are involved in assessing individuals who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. They evaluate the person’s mental health condition and determine if there is a need for compulsory treatment under the Mental Health Act.
Under the Mental Health Act, AMHPs have the authority to make certain legal decisions. This includes the power to recommend the detention of individuals in hospital for assessment or treatment if it is deemed necessary for their own health or safety or for the protection of others.
AMHPs often work closely with other professionals, such as psychiatrists, social workers, and nurses. They gather information and carry out assessments of individuals in crisis. They play a key role in coordinating these assessments to ensure a holistic understanding of the individual’s situation.
While AMHPs have a responsibility to ensure that individuals receive the care and treatment they need, they also play a crucial role in safeguarding the human rights of those subject to the Mental Health Act. This includes ensuring that any compulsory measures are used only when necessary and are the least restrictive option.
AMHPs often advocate for those who are subject to the Mental Health Act. They communicate with the person, their family, and other professionals and ensure that the individual’s views and preferences are taken into account.
AMHPs are required to undergo specific training and maintain their knowledge and skills through continuing professional development. This is to ensure that they are able to carry out their responsibilities in accordance with current mental health legislation and best practices.
It’s important to note that the role of an Approved Mental Health Professional is highly specialised and involves a combination of legal, clinical, and advocacy skills to ensure that individuals with mental health issues receive the care and support they need.