Tuesday, 30 October 2012

An Editor's take on Mental Health Services

In recent Sunday Express, I was captivated by 'A  word from the Editor' - Martin Townsend.
As I wouldn't dare to relate this marvellous article, ' I'll quote the salient points, verbatim because this is 'must reading' for anyone wanting the truth about the current state of Mental Health Services.

"I received a letter last week from reader Jean Devenish alerting me to the fact that one in five front-line jobsin her county's Trust are to be axed, despite a visit from Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, a few days earlier, singing the praises of mental health workers. I suppose we should have known that the NHS wouldn't be safe in Tory hands because it has never been safe ANY government's hands especially when it comes to mental health provision. Now, we have an even worse situation: mental health workers are removed and nobody is replacing them. The axing of mental health services, which seems to have gathered pace recently, proves to me that government still views it as a 'Cinderella' sector of the NHS; always first to suffer cutbacks because, you know, 'mental health is all in the mind, innit ?'

Yet there was a five percent increase in the number of people being sectioned under the Mental Health Act last year with a total of 48,000 people detained "for their own health or safety, or for the protection of other people". That is an expensive business, not just in terms of the emotional cost to the people who have reached that stage of desperation, but also in pounds and pence. Simon Lawton-Smith, head of policy for the Mental Health Foundation, said"We have for years beeen pumping resources into better community care for people with mental illness yet we are not addressing everyone's needs.  Recent cuts to services will only make the situation worse. We need commissioners to to be bold in investing more in prevention and early intervention."

Often, thisswift action can be enough to stop depression getting worse.  It is ceratainly what GPs and mental-health professionals prefer but if you don't have an understanding management, or are unemployed, to whom can you turn if local mental health services have been cut ?
The government is doing its' darndest to get folk off benefits and into work, recognising the cost to the country of a non-productive adult.
Why, then, is it so keen to destroy the services that help the mentally ill back on their feet ?  It makes no sense."  Martin Townsend.

Critics of mine will undoubtedly point out that this article refers specifically to mental health services in England.  However, if the situation is any better in Wales, I'll eat my laptop !   R.W.

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