Many service users in adult social care settings will have mental health needs in some form. All care services must address the mental health needs of their service users just as they must address their physical health needs. Any service user can suffer from mental ill health and emotional distress.

The common starting point should be to promote people’s wellbeing and to prevent mental ill health. Then people with mental ill health issues should be offered the appropriate treatment and support, which usually follows a referral to their GP. Some will be referred on to specialist mental health services. While a person receives care because of mental ill-health, it is important to protect them from the stigma that is commonly associated with their condition.

This topic should be used with reference to the Responding to Mental Health Needs topic. Further relevant information is available in other topics such as Human Rights and Mental Capacity, Needs Assessment, Dementia Care, Learning Disabilities, and Supporting People with Autism topics.

Mental health for staff in the workplace is covered in the Mental Health at Work in Social Care and Stress at Work topics.

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