Britain’s Mental Health – A Gathering Storm?


It is no secret that there is an ongoing mental health crisis in the UK right now.

There are numerous instances of people dying in police custody, having been detained in police cells due to a lack of hospital beds and proper facilities whereby the mentally ill can be accommodated.

So too, there have been consistent cuts to mental health services, vital for maintaining and improving the mental health of the nation.

GP’s tell MPs they are under strain

A recent finding from an enquiry into the growing pressure on GPs. specifically observed from London GPs further compounds the view that mental health services are at breaking point. In a message to MPs responding to the enquiry, they spoke of how their surgeries in London are struggling and becoming increasingly unable to cope with the ever growing demand for mental health services.

As the need for appointments is increasing, doctors are working as hard as possible to meet this rising demand, but are being constricted as to what they can do, claiming they are ‘beset by blockages’ to the vital services they require.

Dr Michelle Drage categorically acknowledged the cuts as the reason to people ‘slipping through the net’ saying ‘The reckless and short-sighted reduction in support services in the community such as health visitors, mental health services and social services leads to overwhelmed GPs, and to the tell-tale signs of illness getting missed. That leads to GPs having more consultations, less time with patients, and patients waiting longer for appointments. Everybody gets a worse deal. Too many GPs and practice nurses in London are running on empty trying to manage these rises in demand.’

Schools – Children and Young People at Risk

It is also not only at doctor’s surgeries and hospital wards where the strain is being felt. Schools in particular have been detrimentally affected by the new scarcity of resources.

Headmaster’s have previously expressed their dismay at the failings of CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), the service which schools use to support pupils and refer pupils on to specialist services. This is particularly concerning at a time when children and young people are experiencing mental health issues, in particular anxiety, in record numbers. It is well known that mental health problems in early life, in particular anxiety, if not dealt with properly, can manifest themselves as far greater problems later in life.

This all serves to nurture the thought that there is a gathering storm around mental health, one which we may soon be in the eye of. So the question is what can be done, what will be done and what can we hope for.

This blog will be exploring these issues, and finding causes for hope.

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