The NHS faces the ‘impossible task of dealing with rising demand’ for mental health treatment

10 Oct, 2022 | admin | No Comments

The NHS faces the ‘impossible task of dealing with rising demand’ for mental health treatment

The NHS faces the 'impossible task of dealing with rising demand' for mental health treatment
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  • According to new research, one in four have to wait up to 12 weeks for treatment.

    We have all heard about how the NHS has been stretched to breaking point with staff shortages, budget cuts and the enormous pressure of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. But, today’s new research – to coincide with World Mental Health Day – sheds light on wait times for mental health treatment through the NHS.

    According to the release issued by Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), nearly a quarter of those surveyed were forced to wait more than 12 weeks to start mental health treatment. Some, he says, have turned to A&E or called 999 out of desperation.

    The RCP also found that 43% of adults with mental illnesses said that their mental health had declined as a result of waiting longer for treatment. Those surveyed had a range of mental illnesses, including eating disorders, addiction, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression.

    Speaking about the findings, Dr. Kate Lovett, the College’s Presidential Lead for Recruitment, said:

    “We cannot sit idly by and watch the most vulnerable in our society in distress. Increasing mental health wait times not only wreak havoc on patients’ lives, but they also leave NHS services with the impossible task of dealing with increasing demand. ,

    According to statistics, in some cases (12%) the wait can be longer than six months and for 6% of patients the wait has extended to more than a year.

    So, what’s causing these shockingly long waits for a cure? The RCP blames this mainly on an “inadequate mental health workforce, especially when it comes to psychiatrists”, emphasizing the fact that there is currently only one consultant psychiatrist per 12,567 people in England.

    The college – which is the British professional body for psychiatry – is calling for a fully funded workforce strategy and the number of medical school places to be increased in the coming years.

    A 45-year-old female patient from south London, who shared her story as part of the research, had been hospitalized 20 times over a decade with drug addiction and other mental health crises.

    She said: “When my mental health got worse, I left university and went back home, and I had to wait six to seven months to be referred to the community team.

    “The only other way to get help was to present to A&E, which was a traumatic experience—to be reevaluated and reintroduced over and over again. Turning to A&E was the only way I could be seen regularly. No one should go through this.

    “What I experienced after I was discharged only made things worse. There’s no help when you’re discharged, and I found myself in this revolving door for ten years. I am in a much better place, but services need to be changed so that people with mental health problems don’t have to wait so long to get help.”

    If you are struggling and need support Samaritans Helpline Available 24/7 by calling 116 123.

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