Conference PaperPDF Available

IAMHL Conference Lyon 2020.



The symposium examines the role of the Approved Mental Health Professional in England, UK. In England and Wales the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (amended 2007) is the primary piece of legislation for the assessment, treatment and detention of individuals deemed to be mentally disordered. The task of considering, coordinating assessments and making the application for detention rests with the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP). The authors papers present empirical research that examines the AMHP role in relation to professional perspectives, decision making, detention, the role of the nearest relative and principles of empowerment.
The International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH)
Abstract One
Perspectives in Use – an interdisciplinary epistemology
for Approved Mental Health Professional Practice
(Dr Caroline Leah, Manchester Metropolitan University)
This paper presents ndings from the Hybrid Identities Project (HIP) that
investigated the professional identities of ten multi-professional Approved
Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) from social work, nurse and
occupational therapy primary professional backgrounds as hybrid
professionals. AMHPs have a legal role within the Mental Health Act (MHA,
2007) in England and Wales to assess individuals for acute mental health
presentations. Hybrid professionals are professionals of a mixed
professional origin who work across several areas of expertise within
public services that are characterised by complex bureaucracies.
The aim of the HIP was to explore the types of hybridisation enacted
within AMHPs’ roles and identities.
A case study of professional identities was deployed within the HIP, with
data generated through thirty semi- structured interviews, over a period
of two years examining professional hybridisation and identities. A
conceptual framework was designed with data analysed thematically.
Illuminative participant data focusing on hybridisation found that AMHPs
enacted a spectrum of perspectives contextually in their relationships with
other professionals. This indicated epistemological hybridity,
conceptualised through a new term of 'perspectives in use’. Di1ering
AMHP perspectives enabled inter-professional working, and the breadth of
AMHP knowledge gave participants as hybrid professionals’ scope and
permission to crosscut other professionals’ boundaries and traditional
schemas for understanding mental health presentations. This was found in
the ways participants integrated di1ering ideological stances situationally
and contextually during Mental Health Act (2007) assessments, where
language was found to be ‘borrowed’ from various professional elds.
Conceptualisations of hybrid professionals, who work within mixed
structures, such as health and social care organisations, includes an
understanding that such professionals commonly embrace a breadth of
perspectives. The paper will discuss how AMHPs' professional
‘perspectives in use’ was enacted in the workplace.
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