Leading psychiatrist warns the recession is making people mentally unwell
September 21, 2012
The country’s most senior psychiatrist has warned that the economic downturn is making previously well people mentally ill.
Professor Sue Bailey OBE, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, spoke at the opening of Manchester’s first medical education centre, specifically designed to train doctors about mental health issues.
She works in child and adolescent mental health services in Greater Manchester and gave her views on NHS reform, stating that the recession was having an impact on people’s mental health.
She also criticised the current benefits and welfare system, saying that people with mental health problems needed support to get better – and cutting their benefits would not help.
Speaking at the opening of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s centre, she said: “The challenge of suicide prevention is not those people known to our services, but those that have never been known and are now being affected by the recession.
“Suicide rates will inevitably continue to increase when users of mental health services are under these sorts of pressures.”
Prof Bailey said she believes patients must remain at the heart of care despite a shake-up of the NHS and the passing of the government’s unpopular Health and Social Care Bill.
“Life after the Bill will still mean doing our best for patients.
“Psychiatrists have the skills, training and mindset to provide leadership in the broader health environment, not just in mental health, and I would like to see more of them stepping up to the challenge.”
She welcomed the new facility at North Manchester General Hospital and heard how it will act as an education hub for medical students, junior doctors and consultants.
The centre will help to train the next generation of psychiatrists and mental health experts and was hailed as a vital resource for the region.
Prof Bailey added: “This is a place where all the professions can get together to share their educational knowledge and combine it with clinical knowledge to make improvements for service users and carers.
“It gives the opportunity for time away and reflective thinking, which is something that health professionals rarely get these days as they are making such difficult decisions.”