United Kingdom should be ashamed of its treatment of mental health patients

The Guardian

Tuesday 22 October 2013 16.00 EDT

(excerpts) Full Article Here

The fate of the mentally ill is being adversely affected not only by mental health service cuts (Report, 16 October; Letters, 18 October) but by broader societal circumstances too.

  • Poor people develop mental illness earlier in life and have longer durations of untreated illness. Individuals with mental disorders are at increased risk of underemployment and homelessness. They are more likely than those without such disorders to be arrested in similar circumstances, and remand is more likely when lesser offending is associated with mental disorder.
  • Depression is the world’s leading cause of disability, affecting more than 350 million people. Each year, a million die by suicide. Globally, fewer than 50% of people with depression receive treatment; in some countries that figure is under 10%.
  • The solutions lie in the broader social circumstances that too often constrain the mentally ill to live lives shaped by stigma, isolation and denial of basic human rights.

Dr Brendan Kelly
Department of adult psychiatry, University College Dublin

• Well done, Professor Gould (Letters, 18 October) for highlighting the lack of mental health care beds. In the London borough of Haringey there is not one bed available, nor are there any day care units.

It is time this government’s shameful attitude to the care of the mentally ill was dragged out into the daylight.
Dr Andy Strouthous
London

• In Leeds a study by the monitoring group Leeds Hospital Alert showed mental health patients had been sent as far away as London and Durham. There needs to be a co-ordinated national drive to ensure that mental health patients can access good treatment in their own communities.
Jeremy Pritlove
Leeds Hospital Alert

• If the health secretary wants to help issues of loneliness (Report, 19 October), he could make sure councils have enough money to reinstate evening classes, libraries, lunch clubs and the like.
Michael Peel
London

retrieved 10-27-13.

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