Why is there no outrage or uproar?
Where is the outrage concerning the early deaths of the mentally ill? Those with severe mental illness die, on average 20 years younger than the rest of the population. This is a shocking statistic that cannot be allowed to continue. This suggests that care of those with mental illness is severely lacking.
In your local surgery’s waiting room one person in every three will be there because of a mental illness. And yet if you were to ask NHS staff working at the heart of the mental health services they will all tell a similar story. The story would be that of the NHS mental health services are finding it very hard to cope.
Local mental health problems
At a meeting with local my Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) he mentioned the receptionist at my local CMHT broke down in tears, due to the pressure of overwork.
People working for mental health charities are telling stories of individuals being shunted around the land due to bed shortages;
- far too many mentally ill people, including young children, being placed in police cells whilst in crisis
- long waiting times for therapy
- an increase in suicides
- an increase in rough sleeping
- pressured community teams have many more cases to deal with now but with far fewer resources
- less priority given to mentally ill
In the UK 6,000 mentally ill people every year commit suicide. And yet the mental health services already know a third of these victims of suicide. So why are they still committing suicide?
Time for change
It’s sad that we still don’t think of mental health illnesses in an identical way as we think of physical illnesses. And this can also be seen in the way public services prioritize funding.
We might accept the positive specific policy announcements on reduced waiting times for talking therapies and additional mental health funding. But we must watch this cautiously to ensure the investment for mental health services is well spent.
Photo by Alachua County