I know some people when writing their blogs like to research their chosen subject, quote facts, figures and statistics, but in general I like to write from the heart, my own words and thoughts, which is why, there may be a few grammatical errors and spelling mistakes ( I do check and re check my writing, but it has been mentioned that I miss some at times sorry folks) but this evening the urge compelled me to hop on to Professor Google and acquire some facts and figures, and here my dear readers is what I have learned.
- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) ” One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.”
- Currently, more than 33% of countries allocate less than 1% of their total health budgets to mental health, with another 33% spending just 1% of their budgets on mental health. A limited range of medicines is sufficient to treat the majority of mental disorders. About 25% of countries, however, do not have the three most commonly prescribed drugs used to treat schizophrenia, depression and epilepsy at the primary health care level. There is only one psychiatrist per 100 000 people in over half the countries in the world, and 40% of countries have less than one hospital bed reserved for mental disorders per 10 000 people.
- According to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) “Mental health problems account for almost a quarter of the total burden of illness in this country – more than either cancer or heart disease – and one in four of us will experience at least one such condition in our lives.Amongst the most common mental health conditions people seek treatment for are depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks.
- The British Journal of Psychiatry writes the following ” There is evidence that the vast majority of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder at the time of their death, and up to a third have had recent contact with mental health services (Foster et al, 1997). For the latter group, the period of greatest risk for suicide is in the first few weeks following discharge from hospital. Data on over 2000 suicides among people in contact with mental health services from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide reveal that a quarter of all deaths occur within the first 3 months of discharge from psychiatric hospital (Appleby et al, 1999b). It is estimated that almost 1% of those discharged from in-patient psychiatric care will kill themselves in the year following their discharge (Goldacre et al, 1993). Such deaths account for 10% of all suicides in the UK (Lewis et al, 1997). The rate of suicide is highest in the first few days after discharge from hospital, with 41% occurring before the first follow-up appointment (Appleby et al, 1999a).The relationship between admission to hospital and suicide has been studied in greater detail among people with schizophrenia. Rossau & Mortensen (1997) examined the characteristics of 508 people who were admitted to hospital for treatment of first-episode schizophrenia in Denmark between 1970 and 1987. The rate of suicide was found to be highest in the 6 months following admission to hospital. It was higher following the first admission to hospital than following subsequent admissions and was also noted to be higher after discharge from general medical and surgical wards.
Everything I have read tonight has made me ponder, where are we going wrong? why are the provisions for Mental Health issues so poor, the care so dire that we have a third of people who commit suicide being in contact with Mental Health services up to 3 months before?
Even if we bring the stigma and lack of understanding of Mental Health in to play surely medical science has developed to a level where Dr’s ranging from professors to GP’s would have a basic understanding of how the mind works?
I feel, having experienced first hand the travesty that is Mental Health Services it all starts with the hospital, if hospitals were better staffed, If hospital staff were better trained, qualified mental health professionals the lives of those suffering would be so much more valued.
My last hospital admission was approx. 2.5 years ago, the room was covered in filth, bed sheets stained, the staff were cold, distant people, who carried themselves with the arrogance of one who knows he has all the power, one member of staff would sit with us, and bemoan her lot in life, telling us (the patients) how she hated her job, we were treated as subhuman, people would have to beg to talk to a staff member, to be taken out for a cigarette ( the only joy that some in the ward had) or to see a DR.
Of course some hospitals are better than others, but the fact remains, even if a Psych ward does not look like a prison, even if the doors do not have bars on, even if they can go for a walk (accompanied ), have visitors, bring in their own items from home ( most of which are confiscated on arrival) they are not an equal, their illness is not seen in the same way as for example a cancer patient is seen.
Until Psychiatirc issues are addressed by government and the funds poured into resarch and development the amount of people suffering with mental Health issues will keep growing, and the age range will widen.
Until Psych wards are run with the respect, cleanliness, care and kindness that is a must in any other hospital, nothing will change, people will leave a ward and do as a girl I was once in hospital with… walk to the nearest train station and jump on the tracks, people will still suffer in silence, until, at their darkest moment they will jump.