Mental Health services are not on top of demand

The demands for mental health services are on the increase. But that just makes it even more important that those contacting mental health services receive prompt, joined up and well resourced care.

Red Nose Day recently highlighted the rise of suicide amongst young men. Members of the Royal family have launched a mental health campaign to challenge the stigma over mental health problems. This is helpful but more needs to be done.

Late last year, NHS providers surveyed mental health leaders to gain a better understanding of health care delivery locally. They concluded that “rising demands, in many cases, exceeded available capacity in both adult and children and young people’s services”.

An overwhelming majority (81%) of trust leaders said that “they are not able to meet current demand for community child and adolescent mental health services and 58% said the same for adult community mental health services”.

The failure to deliver specialist health care to the most vulnerable in our society can have devastating consequences, as the family of Julie are only too aware. While in deteriorating mental health Julie tried to access the mental health teams on numerous occasions. Despite these repeated interactions and Julie's involvement in a major car accident, which police were concerned indicated an attempt to take her own life, no mental health assessment was made of her condition. In the early hours of 22nd February 2018 Julie went missing. After a police search, Julie was found later that evening. Sadly, she had already passed away.

More money is vital and the LibDems have committed to that. But as the NHS survey indicates the money must be spent in the right way and when something goes wrong, as in Julie's case, each single instance must be investigated so that lessons are learnt and applied at every level of the health service.

Nick Coates says,

"we need managed plans so people don't get worse, we need safe places they can go if necessary and staff need the training and resources to respond to each individual circumstance. And we must invest more on prevention which too often is the first in line for budget cuts".

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of Mental Health Network, recently said

"If you're going to be serious about the health of the nation then you need to start with mental health". 


References Permission has been granted to refer to this story.

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