NHS ‘Is Failing’ Mental Health Patients2:00am 24th July 2012. © 2012 Eagle Radio. The NHS is still failing people with mental health problems, despite a Government strategy launched more than a year ago, charities have warned.They say patients in some areas are waiting at least three months for specialist counselling. Some end up going private because they need more urgent care.Others are developing more severe symptoms because doctors do not take warning signs seriously enough.The charity Mind says the mental health strategy, called No Health Without Mental Health, has so far failed to improve the outlook for patients.Chief executive Paul Farmer said: “Having a strategy is only the first step. Action is what makes a real difference to people’s lives.”Mental health charities will today join Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to launch what the Department of Health calls an “implementation framework” to improve care.
There will be clear guidance for health and social services, local authorities and housing associations on what they should be doing to help patients. It will say that mental health is just as important as physical well-being.
One in four people will have a mental health problem in any given year.
But mental health services have long been seen as an easy cut to make when money is tight. Implementation of the Government strategy stalled while the NHS and social care was reorganised.
Mr Farmer said: “Many people live well with a mental health problem, but far too many don’t.
“There are very high numbers of people out of work because of their mental health and people who can’t take part as equal citizens in our society because of the stigma and discrimination.”
Laura Sherlock has battled with mental illness since she was involved in a car accident in her teens. Her depression became so bad she began to self-harm and had suicidal thoughts.
But her GP told her she was just thinking her way into problems and refused to refer her to a psychiatrist. Only when she developed schizophrenia did she get the help she needed.
“If that support had been there initially, I would not need it now because I would not have got so seriously ill,” she told Sky News.
“There were several times I could have died because of what was going on in my head. It’s just luck and the love of my family that meant that didn’t happen.”
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