Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How technology could help monitor and treat mental health conditions

How technology could help monitor and treat mental health conditions Technology has the potential to make significant and cost-effective contributions to mental healthcare

Could digital treatments meet mental health service users' needs?

Mental health care is often described as the Cinderella of medicine overlooked, disparaged, and generally neglected. In the UK, mental healthcare is the single biggest item on the NHS budget (£12.16bn in 2010/11), but in practice this means that only about 11% of the overall spend is allocated to deal with 23% of the disease burden. Recent cuts have also hit mental health care significantly harder than acute hospitals, creating a combination of falling capacity and rising demand. Mental healthcare appears to suffer from the same stigma in policy circles as individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder experience in private life. And just as stigma leads to worse outcomes for individuals with mental health problems, the underfunding of mental health care leads to higher long-term costs for the NHS.

If things look bad at home, they're a lot worse elsewhere. High-income countries such as Britain and America spend an average of £26.71per capita on mental healthcare; by contrast, low-income countries manage only 12p, and spend most of that on inpatient beds rather than more effective community care. Wealthy nations have one psychiatrist for every 11,640 people; the poorest countries barely have one for every two million. Undertreatment of mental health problems is a problem everywhere, but it reaches epic proportions in the poorest countries, where as few as one in 10 sufferers receive treatment. Continue reading... The Guardian

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