Adult Mental Health

Adult Mental Health

Adult mental health services, including forensic, psychotherapy, alcohol and substance misuse, learning disability and old age psychiatry services, have a responsibility for safeguarding children when they become aware of a child at risk of harm.  This may be as a result of a service’s direct work with those who may be mentally ill, a parent, a parent-to-be, or a non-related abuser, or in response to a request for the assessment of an adult perceived to represent a potential or actual risk to a child or young person. Staff working in adult mental health services need to be especially aware of the risk of neglect, emotional abuse and domestic abuse.

Adult mental health practitioners should follow the Safeguarding Children procedures laid down for their services within their area. Consultation, supervision and training resources should be available and accessible in each service. Staff should ensure that they complete the mandatory training on safe guarding children provided by their trust.

To safeguard children of patients, mental health practitioners should routinely record details of patients’ responsibilities in relation to children, and consider the support needs of patients who are parents and of their children, in all aspects of their work, using the Care Programme Approach.

Close collaboration and liaison between adult mental health services and Children’s Social Care are essential in the interests of children. This may require sharing information to safeguard and promote the welfare of children or to protect a child from significant harm.

If there is to be a Child Protection Conference where a parent or carer is a patient of the Adult Mental Health Team the relevant professional may be invited to attend and is urged to attend if at all possible. It is essential that a report should be provided in advance to the conference chair which will be made available for other professionals attending. If attendance is not possible the report should be made available outlining involvement and clinical findings, and shared with the parents prior to the conference.  

There is a duty on hospital managers to ensure that if a child or a young person is admitted to hospital for mental health treatment, the environment in the hospital is suitable having regard to their age.  Managers of adult services must consult with an appropriate person in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in decisions about accommodation, care and facilities for education of a child or young person who is in hospital.

Further advice and guidance is available from the relevant Named Nurse/Doctor for safeguarding.