Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Mental health patients have been thrown down the Brexit rabbit-hole | Zoe Williams

Mental health patients have been thrown down the Brexit rabbit-hole | Zoe Williams Normal government has effectively ceased, leaving a crucial health review on hold

The whole thing reads like a misprint: if you present at your GP’s with mild to moderate depression or anxiety, you will wait, on average, six weeks for treatment, which itself sounds like a significant amount of time. But if you arrive with a very severe mental illness – schizophrenia or bipolar disorder – you will wait much longer, 14 weeks, just for an assessment. The average wait for treatment to begin is 19 weeks. One in six people wait longer than six months. Parking the human beings for a second, it makes no sense as a system: physical and mental health are not equivalent, and having a psychotic episode is not the same as breaking your leg. But in the broadest possible terms, this is like fast-streaming people with arthritis while leaving cancer sufferers in a half-year limbo. It’s not a system anyone would design; it’s hard to fathom how it could simply evolve.

Reading the report from the charity Rethink Mental Illness, though, you cannot park the human beings for very long. Heartbreaking testimonies leap off the page: “These answers were on behalf of my husband, who sadly took his own life six weeks ago … I truly believe that, if he had received therapy sooner, he would still be here.” “I was left for months at a time with no contact from my community psychiatric nurse. Following a suicide attempt, I did not hear from them for a month.”

All the determination in the world cannot make more hours in the day, magic more staff on to community psychiatric teams The Guardian

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