Legal Support as Enhanced Treatment?

Legal Support as Enhanced Treatment

Civil justice and mental health outcomes are more closely linked than national policy might suggest. This discussion paper explores the implications of this link in the context of sweeping changes to both legal aid and public health policy.

People with poorer mental health are more likely to report ‘difficult to solve’ civil law problems but less likely to act to resolve them.

However, the Ministry of Justice is proposing to significantly reduce the scope of legal aid, which will particularly affect people with a mental health condition.

Simultaneously, the Department of Health is emphasising the ‘broad canvas’ of public and community services that mental health and public health must draw upon.

This points to shared health and justice policy goals, which might include recognition (and action) within the NHS at all levels that mental health outcomes are linked to civil justice, and straightforward routes to quality-assured legal information and representation, including via primary care services.

Potential approaches explored in this paper include a low-level intervention to improve awareness of legal rights, and a more ambitious approach that puts legal support squarely within the commissioned services of primary care.

Author: Laura Bradley, Strategic Society Centre

Download the report: Legal Support as Enhanced Treatment

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