The Approved Social Worker’s Guide to Mental Health Law

 The Approved Social Worker’s Guide to Mental Health Law
 Robert Brown, Learning Matters
 ISBN 1844450627,


Finding a way through the legislation relating to mental health and the associated codes of practice and guidance is an increasingly complex process, writes Martin Smith.

This book aids this task as it conveys essential legislation clearly and succinctly. Its audience is primarily trainee and recently qualified approved social workers (ASWs). It is quite an achievement to have conveyed so much information into 165 pages of text, and the book’s relative brevity is an advantage for busy practitioners who need to access crucial facts quickly.

Of particular interest are chapters on “Other relevant legislation” and “The Draft Mental Health Bill” as these give the book a contemporary vantage point from which recent political controversy surrounding mental health law can be viewed. What the book lacks is any sense of the passion, challenge, fury, intense reflection and differences in perspective that so frequently feature in the ASW role. Case studies could have brought some of these aspects of the role to life.

For those in need of a succinct, clear and accessible summary of contemporary mental health law this book is to be recommended.

People will not need to be employed as approved social workers to find it useful. However, those who are interested in learning more about the attraction and fascination
that the ASW role holds for many who undertake it should look elsewhere.

Martin Smith is approved social worker and practitioner-manager of Buckinghamshire Out of Hours Emergency Social Work Team, and author of Surviving Fears in Health and Social Care

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