I'm on my way to work when I get a phone call - someone was found in a public place and the police officer believed they needed immediate care or control. They can be detained on Section 136 of the Mental Health Act for up to 72 hours so that they can be assessed.
When I get into the office, I have emails letting me know that there are two other assessments coming my way. One is in the community and one is on a ward.
I gather information about all three assessments so I can decide which one takes priority. It is the community assessment as the risks are highest. I talk to the referrers of the other two assessments to explain that my colleague will be looking at them later in the day.
I start planning for the community assessment by talking to the person's relatives and the professionals involved in supporting them - I need to have as much background information as possible. I speak to the psychiatrist on call, an independent doctor and the ambulance service to agree a possible time for the assessment. As this person has previously refused admission to professionals in the last three weeks, we also begin the process of completing documentation to attend court and seek a warrant to gain access to the property.
After a 90 minute wait, I finally get into a court room and the warrant is granted. During this wait, I've contacted the ambulance service and the doctor to reschedule the assessment time and reassure anxious relatives - it's really important to make sure they are kept up to date with the plans. We now also need a police officer to accompany us to execute the warrant.
Whilst this is happening, I liaise with my colleague regarding the other assessments that need to be completed. I am finally able to start the assessment mid-afternoon and on arrival it is apparent that the person is very unwell. He believes that his flat is bugged and his neighbours are spies. The doctors concludes that his mental illness warrants detention in a hospital. In discussions with the person being assessed, it becomes clear that this is the least restrictive option as he will not agree to see anyone from mental health services or take medication as he believes it is poison.
We detain him under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act which means he will have to go to hospital for up to 28 days for an assessment of his mental health. The doctors' role is now over, so they leave me with the police officer as we wait for an ambulance to arrive. We get a call from the ambulance crew saying that they are stuck in traffic and will be delayed by up to an hour.
The service user is becoming more restless due to the wait and we have to ensure he remains calm. Finally the ambulance arrives and we head off to the ward. I have a handover with the ward staff, thank the ambulance crew and head back to the office to document the assessment.
When I arrive back in the office, my colleague has begun the Section 136 assessment with the medics who helped earlier in the day and the ward assessment has been set up for the next day. As I begin to write the MH1 (the formal record of the assessment as required by law), my phone rings. It is another referral: an assessment is needed at the general hospital where a person is refusing treatment for an overdose. I put the information on our board and have a handover with the overnight AMHP. I finally get my documentation finished at 6.45pm and pack up.
Some shifts you may do one assessment and some you may do three, depending on what and where it is. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.