A new report from the charity Mental Health Matters suggests that the NHS is failing to provide the best support for people with mental illness.
The report, entitled Mental Illness Solutions, is a snapshot of the situation and is based on the experiences of more than 50,000 people in Ireland who were referred to mental health services in 2014.
In a press release, Mental Health Matter chief executive, Helen Smith, said that the survey revealed that mental health and wellbeing are not being treated in the same way as other mental health problems, with many people still being forced to take out long-term care packages.
Ms Smith said:”The survey highlights the need for a mental health strategy that is inclusive of different kinds of mental health needs.
It is also important that mental wellbeing services, both primary and secondary, are able to deliver the same quality of care to all people.”
The reality is that the care we provide is not always the same for all people with a mental illness, and this is a serious issue that we need to address.
“While mental health supports and services are provided in a number of different ways, they need to be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and their individual needs, including access to social support and support for family members.”
The report also noted that many of the mental health care services that were seen as being more comprehensive in nature and delivered in a more clinical manner are actually more limited in their services, with some services only covering part of a person’s needs.
For example, one in four people in England are unable to access a psychiatrist due to the cost of their specialist service.
“It is also crucial that we invest in our mental health support services to improve access to services and support to people with special needs and to prevent people with psychiatric disorders from having to leave the NHS.”
People with mental health disorders need support and they deserve it, and we need all of our mental healthcare services to be able to provide that support and help,” Ms Smith added.”
We are also calling on the government to set up a new mental health commission and work to ensure that our mental wellbeing support is available to all of the people who need it.
“Ms Smith’s report also highlighted that mental illness is often not recognised by the NHS, and that there is a lack of awareness around the prevalence of mental illness among the population, with the majority of people not aware that they are at risk.”
This is a very serious issue and we are calling for all of us to recognise that mental illnesses are not just something to be avoided or ignored, but that they pose a real risk to mental wellbeing and wellbeing of our communities,” Ms Harris said.
The research was commissioned by the National Mental Health Centre and supported by the Mental Health Foundation Ireland.