Perspectives of stakeholders of why this project is important

Prof Alys Young

I am based at The University of Manchester. I am the principal investigator for the INForMHAA project. My professional background is in fact in social work, I’m a registered social worker myself. Previously I worked as an Approved Social Worker (ASW) under the Mental Health Act, an ASW would be equivalent to what we know now as an AHMPs role.

This project is important to me as the implementation of the Mental Health Act can have serious consequences for the patient. This could include deprivation of liberty, for instance, if we have a patient has been assessed and a decision is made to admit them to hospital, to which the patient does not agree with, under the mental health act assessment the person can be detained and moved to a hospital for treatment.

Creating the best communication possible is a priority during the mental health assessment (MHA), it is crucial that the assessor and the patient are able to fully understand each other. If there is not a shared language between the assessor and the patient, there is a legal requirement to ensure an interpreter is present in the assessment. Interpreter mediated assessments are sufficient, however, there may be communication breakdowns if the interpreter and AMHPs have not had training on how to work together.

At present, there is no national guidance to support AMHPs and interpreters working together under the MHA. In fact, no national records or data exist documenting language characteristics of people assessed under the mental health act and how often an interpreter is involved. The project will consider the perspectives of service users and the carers of service users also in researching how to improve interpreter mediated MHAs.

This project has the potential to improve the assessment process through presenting evidence from people that have been involved and interpreter mediated MHA assessments. I feel this project is important to inform future practice in MHA assessments, it will take into consideration the perspective of the person being assessed to ensure their rights are protected. The findings will also support interpreters and AMHPs to feel more confident in their roles.


Prof Jemina Napier

I have worked as a sign language interpreter for many years and I’m now an academic and researcher within the university sector. I am now a part of the INForMAA project, as a researcher as well. This project is important as is one of the very few research that focuses on both spoken and signed languages together in the same project. The project also benefits AMHPs and interpreters by providing best practice guidance on working together. This project will be interdisciplinary in nature, it will have a large impact on a wide range of disciplines that are working to support people that are being assessed under the Mental Health Act.


Celia Hulme

Hello, my name is Celia Hulme and I am a research assistant for the INForMHAA project. I will be bringing my lived experiences and perspective as a deaf person to the project. My background work is in Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE). This project is significant as it will create lasting change and improvements to service provisions, including the Mental Health Act

assessments. The project will benefit spoken and signed language interpreters, AMHPs, and most importantly service users.


Dr Natalia Rodriguez Vicente

I contribute to the INforMHAA project in my capacity as a researcher in the field of interpreting studies. In my view, this project is important because it increases the visibility of a very specific type of interpreter-mediated events, assessments under the Mental Health Act and by looking specifically into the uniqueness of these assessments we can then get a better idea of, for example how interpreters can best adapt to this context in order to ensure successful communication between all parties. Also, the specific challenges and learning opportunities when it comes to assessing someone who is linguistically and culturally diverse. Finally, to find out more about the link between conceptions around mental health and language. So, hopefully by learning more about this, we will be able to bring closer together the fields of interpreting and social care research.


Dr Rebecca Tipton

I’m a co-investigator on the INForMAA project. This project is important for several reasons, firstly I think it has excellent potential practice and to move language and communication issues up the agenda in social care. Secondly, this project is an example of cross-disciplinary research with multilingualism at its heart. Not only are we interested in multilingual questions in adult social care, but multilingualism forms part of our research process as well. I am excited that this project will hopefully serve as a model to other research groups in the future wanting to place emphasis on multilingualism in research.


Jackie Wan Brown

Hello, my name is Jackie Wan Brown. I’m involved in the INForMAA research project, my role will be to observe researchers themselves, their practices and to learn more about the research process. For the last 14 years, I’ve worked as a mental health nurse in both hospitals and community settings. I am aware of the challenges with the Mental Health Act for professionals and patients alike. When a patient with mental health issues is being assessed it is imperative to ensure that we have the right communication methods in place to make an appropriate decision. Additionally, there needs to be consideration of how best to support the deaf and hearing person in this setting. This is an under researched area that needs to be explored making it appropriate and timely.


Dr Sarah Vicary

I am a member of the project team. My role within the project is to advise on all things to do with the approved mental health professional practice and that kind of legal background. I am also responsible for the advisory group which is made up of people who bring their own expertise to the project and are able to bring their advice according to how they feel the project is going and where it may want to go. The reason I’m very interested in being involved in this project is that it is literally to do with the practice of approved mental health professionals, which is my own professional background. Particularly, the phrase under the legislation which is to interview in a suitable manner because clearly communication is at the heart of that so, to have the opportunity to be involved in a project which enables best practice in that is hugely important to me and I know it will be to fellow practitioners and of course at the heart of it people who may be subject to that detention.


Martin Stevens

Martin was a senior research fellow for the NIHR policy research union on the health and social care workforce and was on the project advisory group for the first year of this project until he sadly passed away in March 2022. As part of his role at the NIHR he was involved in completing lots of research on social care and had also completed research on the workforce around approved mental health professionals and why there are shortages and how to overcome them. As well as some research on the availability of section 12 doctors for mental health assessments. Martin stated that he thought the INForMAA project is really important because mental health assessments are such crucial moments where the decisions about liberty are taken. So, he felt that good communication is essential and exploring how AMHPs and interpreters can work from mental health assessments well together will be really valuable.


Christine McPherson

I’m a member of the advisory group the INForMAA project. I am currently retired, however, I previously worked in social work for 35 years, for 25 years I worked as a mental health social worker at the deaf mental health services in Birmingham. I then later worked as a mainstream social worker as well. I also became an approved social worker, and later an approved mental health professional. I mostly worked with sign language interpreters, however, later in my career I worked with various spoken language interpreters. This project is important as currently there is insufficient training for AMHPs and interpreters working together conducting assessments under the Mental Health Act. The project will both explore the experiences of AMHPs and interpreters working together under the Mental Health Act assessment, as well as developing joint training for both to feel more confident in their role, and to ensure that they both feel equipped on how best to work together in future mental health assessments to provide a quality service.


Nahed Arafat

I am sitting on the advisory group and I am bringing my expertise and experience to the project, both as a mental health worker and a professional interpreter. I believe this project is of immense importance for both interpreters and mental health workers because interpreters often voice their concerns about the challenges they face when they carry out a Mental Health Act assessment and they are always looking for continuous training to improve their performance in such settings. I also believe that it is going to be of immense value for approved mental health professionals and mental health professionals in general because they also want to learn more about appropriate ways of involving interpreters in such difficult settings.


Andy Brammer

I am the mental health and AMHP lead for a local authority in the north of England and I also teach on the AMHP training courses at two local universities. My role in this research is as a specialist advisor bringing my knowledge and experience of the use of interpreters in Mental health Act assessments. I believe that having good interpreters at mental health act assessments is vital, unfortunately the quality of interpreting services is variable and my hope is that this research will go some way to correcting that.