People with mental illness in England face ‘horrifically long’ ambulance delays

Posted on 11th September 2023 by Dan Price

Ministers have been accused of “sheer neglect” of people with mental illness as figures reveal one patient waited nearly three days for an ambulance to arrive last year.

Data obtained by the Liberal Democrats shows that ambulance services regularly breached response-time targets in emergency and urgent calls to help patients with a mental health crisis or severe illness last year.

The figures show the longest waits for emergency mental health ambulance callouts, which should be seven minutes on average, were more than two hours in 2022. The longest wait for an urgent callout, which is less of a priority than an emergency call, was more than 70 hours for an ambulance to reach one patient in the south-west of England.

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Antidepressants: I wasn't told about the side effects

Posted on 15th August 2023 by Tegan Chelsea

About one in seven people in the UK now take medication to treat depression but some say they are not being given appropriate advice about the potential side effects of the drugs they have been prescribed.

Seonaid Stallan's son Dylan was a teenager when he began receiving treatment for body dysmorphia and depression.

"He was struggling with the way he felt about himself, the way he looked," Seonaid said.

"He was extremely anxious. He would be physically sick. He would be unable to leave the house."

Dylan, from Glasgow, was treated with the antidepressant Fluoxetine from the age of 16.

But when he turned 18, his medication was changed to Sertraline.

Within two months of his prescription change he had taken his own life.

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Up to 3m UK people behind on bills have had mental health problems, study says

Posted on 25th July 2023 by Dan Price

Up to 3 million people in the UK who are behind with at least one bill have experienced a mental health problem in the last two years, according to research.

YouGov polling for the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity found that 12% of participants were behind on at least one payment such as energy, rent or credit cards, of whom half had a mental health problem. That equates to 3 million people who are behind on a payment and who have experienced a mental health problem in the previous two years, the authors calculated.

In all, people who have had mental health problems in the past two years are three times more likely to be behind on at least one significant bill, the report found, with 60% saying they felt unable to cope due to rising costs. Yet only 9% have received money or debt advice since the start of the cost of living crisis.

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Record numbers of children seek mental health help from NHS England

Posted on 27th June 2023 by Dan Price

A record 1.4 million children and young people sought NHS help for mental health problems last year, amid concern that under-18s are struggling with issues including about money and their education.

The number of school-age children being referred to child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) has undergone an “explosion” in the last three years, soaring by 76% since 2019, NHS figures show.

That year 812,070 under-18s in England were referred to Camhs for treatment of anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other psychological problems.

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Who should be responsible for mental health care?

Posted on 16th June 2023 by Dan Price

I’m writing in response to your article on mental health support for students in universities (Parents outline ‘woeful’ mental health support for students at UK universities, 2 June). Amid arguments that universities should become quasi-mental health service providers, university staff are already struggling under pressure to support mental health.

My mother is a mental health professional. She had nine years of university and three years of on-the-job training. I had nine years of university and three years of on-the-job training to become a lecturer. My mother’s training involved learning how to protect her own wellbeing while helping others. My training did not. Most university staff are not mental health professionals, and the few who are need more support.

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Awareness of mental health is not enough

Posted on 24th May 2023 by Dan Price

Martha Gill’s argument that mental health definition has become so widened as to become almost meaningless makes a fundamentally important point (Comment). As a society, we have amalgamated several meanings under the umbrella term “mental health”. Mental health should be thought of as three concepts:

 wellbeing that is relevant to all of us, whether we have a mental health disorder or not;

 common mental disorder such as mild to moderate depression and anxiety, which can be discomfiting and need treatment;

 severe mental illness such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe personality disorders, addictions and severe depression.

As a psychiatrist, I note this third group remains one of the most neglected groups. Resources are scarce, there are not enough community, recovery and inpatient services and these are all understaffed. Several of us think the conflation of all three strands in media and public discourse has done society a great disservice and attention has shifted from where the need is greatest. Consequently, systemic discrimination and health inequality against the most disadvantaged groups hide in plain sight. Being “aware” of mental health issues is not enough; we need to be mental-health literate so we can prioritise areas with greatest need.

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