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Health-justice partnerships: innovation in service delivery to support mental health

Sarah Beardon (Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, UK)
Charlotte Woodhead (ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health, Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK)
Silvie Cooper (Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, UK)
Rosalind Raine (Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, UK)
Hazel Genn (Department of Laws, University College London, London, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 3 August 2020

Issue publication date: 7 December 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to introduce the concept of “health-justice partnership” (HJP), the provision of legal assistance for social welfare issues in health-care settings. It discusses the role of these partnerships in supporting health and care for people with mental health issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors describe an example of an HJP; discuss the rationale and evidence for this approach in relation to mental health; and reflect on implementation challenges and future directions in the UK. The authors draw on both health and legal literature to frame the discussion.

Findings

Social welfare legal needs have negative impacts on mental well-being and are more likely to occur among people with mental health conditions. Integrating legal assistance with healthcare services can improve access to support for those with unmet need. High-quality research has demonstrated positive impacts for mental health and well-being as a result of HJP interventions. Both further research and wider strategies are required to support implementation of HJPs in practice.

Originality/value

Legal assistance is rarely positioned as a health intervention, yet it is an effective tool to address social welfare issues that are harmful to mental health and to which people experiencing mental health are at greater risk. This paper highlights the importance of the HJP movement as an approach for supporting people with mental health issues.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This report is independent research supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North Thames. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Citation

Beardon, S., Woodhead, C., Cooper, S., Raine, R. and Genn, H. (2020), "Health-justice partnerships: innovation in service delivery to support mental health", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 327-332. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-03-2020-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited