After reading two articles in The Times newspaper I was bewildered by the overall aims of the NHS (National Health Service) mental health provision. The first article titled ‘Mentally ill are being denied help in crisis’, which basically stated that those in a mental health crisis were either denied or given an appalling service. An investigation by Mind (mental health charity) and University College London revealed many services in England do not meet the staffing guidelines; people are not getting the help required; delayed assessments; some crisis units are not providing a 24 hour, seven day service a week; people cannot contact crisis teams directly but must be referred.
The other article in the same issue titled ‘Its less about stigma than the lack of science’ states how a new Mental Health Bill will be implemented by the Commons via Gavin Barwell, MP, the 19th century definitions of depression and schizophrenia need to be revised in order to remove all kinds of discrimination and stigma. Also recognising the misdiagnosis of service users and its detrimental affects on their lives.
Apparently, due to the lack of research into mental illness a relevant science has not been applied. Genetics, brain imaging and sophisticated psychological and social research are the remedy for such a situation. Lord Stevenson of Coddenham is founding chairman of the new mental health research foundation based in London.
I question the validity of this reasearch since statistics only serve the purpose of shaping a persons thinking, money is being placed into research but not existing services that desperately require funding. The numbers of people approaching mental health services are increasing, there is no mention of social changes apart from removing stigma. Eliminating stigmatization and further research is going to resolve the current dilemma. We exist in a climate where care services are being integrated into the community rather than institutionalised settings – cheaper alternative . It just does not make any sense!
It is not rocket science to know that mental health is largely dependent on social factors and obviously some are heredity. What further research is required! Possibly, a step forward would be to approach mental illness as advised by R. D Laing Institute www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/02/rd-laing-mental-health-sanity whereby only those that have undergone the journey of ‘madness’ and recovered should be the ones to assist sufferers of a mental breakdown, since they have first hand experience. Laing aimed to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Another alternative would be to use intervention in aid of preventative measures such as talking therapies and make such services more accessible.
Yesterday evening I visited a friend in a psychiatric unit and I was perplexed by the amount and range of medication she had been prescribed. Is the aim of reducing the stigma expressed towards mental illness a way of normalizing this particular state of being due to the growing numbers of suffers and the GP’s tendency to hand out psychoactive drugs like candy. If labels like schizophrenia and depression are to be revised than this can only be replaced with criminalization. I must wonder!
Only the pharmaceutical companies will benefit from these sort of proposals.
- Wales News: Four AMs go public with their experiences of mental illness to fight stigma (walesonline.co.uk)
- A jail is no place for the mentally ill (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)