Hello everyone! As you may have read a couple of posts ago, I emailed my MP Theresa May about the Mental Health Taskforce. I received a reply from her office and thought I would share the message with you.
“Dear Ms Swatman,
Thank you for contacting Theresa about the independent Mental Health Taskforce. She appreciates your concerns about mental health services.
I hope that you will be pleased to learn that the Prime Minister has recently announced a new approach to mental health based on recommendations from the Taskforce. Thousands of people with mental health conditions will be supported to find or return to work, meaning they have the opportunity to get on in life. The Government plans to deliver true equality between mental and physical health for the first time. An extra £1 billion a year is being provided by this Government for mental health care to make sure that it gets the attention it needs. This will support one million more people with mental health problems to access high quality care that they are not getting today.
Action will be taken to treat potentially debilitating mental health conditions early on through improved access to care. The Prime Minister has also met with business leaders to highlight the need for a shift in attitude to people with mental health conditions in the workplace and to agree new workplace standards. The Government is implementing the first-ever mental health access and waiting time standards. This means 75 per cent of people referred for talking therapies to treat common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety will start their treatment within 6 weeks, and 95 per cent within 18 weeks. Patients experiencing psychosis for the first time must be treated within two weeks. Please be assured that the Government has a vision of a 7-day mental health service where people will get the care they need, when they need it, and will help to prevent mental illness developing in the first place.
Thank you very much again for taking the time to contact Theresa about this important issue.
I think it is so incredibly promising to hear that the government is making steps to improve the quality of mental health care in the UK in order to bring it up the the physical health standards. Although the aims for waiting times are really great, I believe we can be and we should be more ambitious. With all mental health conditions, a 6 week wait for treatment, although shorter than the waiting times many people are currently experiencing, is a long time. People don’t seek help the moment they suspect something is wrong. Usually, there is a period of pushing everything under the carpet. Many people I know and have talked to didn’t go to the doctor until they were desperate. When your mind is in absolute crisis, waiting 6 weeks before treatment could feel like torture.
Finally I am encouraged by the generally improving attitude in the UK about mental illness, and the greater understanding around what is needed and what can be done. However, through personal experience I know that if you walk into the emergency department and tell them that you are suicidal or in crisis, it feels as if there is nothing that they are able to do, or even that there is nothing that they are willing to do. As a society we should be more ambitious.
Thank you for reading, please ask your own MP about what they are planning to do to help people struggling with mental illness in their constituency.
Borderline Bella xxx