'Thousands of people with mental health problems neglected and under-treated'

Access to NHS mental health care is getting worse, according to a nationwide survey of patients carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 4:58 pm

The poll of 12,551 people who received treatment for a mental health condition between September and November last year found “few” positives, the CQC report said.

The study found a decline in people’s experience of accessing care, with only 42 per cent of respondents saying they “definitely” saw NHS mental health services often enough for their needs.

This is one percentage point lower than the previous year’s result and five percentage points lower than in 2014.

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Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity Sane.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said: “Four years ago we were promised a revolution in mental healthcare by the then government, but according to the CQC, far from services improving, there has been a downward spiral leaving many thousands of people with mental health problems neglected and under-treated.

“Sane’s experience from the many callers to our helpline is that people who are suicidal or self-harming are being sent home from A&E, with overburdened community teams often taking days to make urgent home visits, leaving patients, their families and carers with nowhere to turn.

“If the new government, following the new long-term plan, does not restore beds and staff for people in crisis, then the promised transformation in mental healthcare will fail.”

The poll also found almost one in three people did not know who to contact in the NHS out of hours if they had a mental health crisis.

There was also a drop when it came to time spent with staff, with 57 per cent of people saying they had enough time to discuss their needs and treatment.

This represented a drop of eight percentage points from a high of 65 per cent in 2014 and is one percentage point lower than the previous year.

Meanwhile, only about half of respondents said the person or team they saw were “completely” aware of their treatment history.

Of those who agreed their care plan, 52 per cent felt they were involved as much as they wanted to be in the process, down four percentage points since 2014.

The survey also found that younger people aged 18 to 35 reported worse than average experiences with NHS mental health care while older people reported better than average.

According to NHS England, one in four adults experience at least one mental health condition in any given year.

The YEP continues to campaign for positive mental health in the #SpeakYourMind campaign, which has won widespread praise and support.

First launched in 2016, it aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and combat the stigma that sometimes still surrounds them.

Help is available:

Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], in confidence

Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won't show up on your bill

Andy's Man Club: [email protected]

PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

Mind: A charity offering support and advice for people with mental health problems. www.mind.org.uk