Mental health services in crisis

Mental health services in crisis

I can’t be the only person who’s looked at today’s report and questioned how things have been allowed to get this bad?

It’s reported that less than 10% of the whole NHS budget is dedicated to mental health services, despite at least 1-in-4 of the population being affected at some point, and as many as 75% of those are going UNTREATED, which is completely unacceptable. It makes me think there’s probably a lot more than 1-in-4 people suffering with mental ill health, but because they know the chances of accessing the care and treatment they need is so unlikely, they tragically don’t even ask for help.

Let’s be clear on one thing, though: the crisis is with the services and how they’re funded, and not with the frontline workers, many of whom are deeply compassionate and incredibly skilled at what they do. This isn’t an exercise in destroying the morale of our NHS staff even more, but being real about the bigger picture. Our NHS is world class and something to be proud of, but it’s been neglected, overmanaged, underfunded and generally pulled apart by government. And it has to stop.

Let nurses go back to nursing, and let the decisions be made by people qualified to make them. On the 6 o’clock news this evening Prime Minister David Cameron said people experiencing psychosis should be able to access treatment with two weeks. TWO WEEKS?! I appreciate we don’t live in an ideal world, but two weeks is mighty long time for a family to cope – often in distressing circumstances – until help can be accessed, and yet that’s the goal… so how long are they waiting now?! And while I believe care in the community is a positive option for many, it’s now also been taken too far with hundreds of people being sent miles away from home when a hospital bed is required. Scarily, only half the country even has access to a community crisis team. What do the other half do, and how do you even know?

Again, how did it get this bad?

Not thin enough, not hurting deeply enough, not depressed enough – these are the messages people hear when trying to get help, because the chronic lack of resources means only the most severe cases get through. What this is leaving us with is a ticking time bomb of people getting steadily worse, and barely any early intervention strategies available to stop them. One of the recommendations from today is for all A&E departments to have their own mental health teams and it’s mind boggling that this hasn’t been in place for years already – on the day when increasing rates of self-poisoning has also been in the news, surely A&E staff would rather someone presented to the department before it got that far? Better to be talking someone down in a moment of distress than searching for antidotes to save their life.

The Government is pledging to spend more – whether it’ll come soon enough or makes a difference at all remains to be seen, but I absolutely hope mental health services have finally reached rock bottom, and the rebuilding can start quickly and effectively before any more lives are lost to treatable mental health conditions.

Seriously, how did it get this bad?

@RachelWelch | @FreedomFromHarm





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