Getting the right kind of support for a mental health or emotional problem is hugely important. But equally important is getting the help quickly, before the problem escalates.
This is usually in the form of a talking therapy, with someone specifically trained to work through a range of issues.
Many talking therapies are available on the NHS (although you can also access them privately) and the NHS programme Improving Access to Psychological Therapies is being rolled out across England.
However, NHS waiting times for talking therapies have recently hit the headlines, following the publication of new data from the Health & Social Care Information Centre and an independent investigation by the We Need to Talk coalition. This includes, amongst others, the mental health charity Mind, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.
Paul Farmer, Chair of the We Need to Talk coalition and Chief Executive of Mind, said: “We know that in some parts of the country investment in IAPT and other models has transformed lives but far too many people face unacceptably long waits or are struggling to even get a referral, which just isn’t good enough. While waiting, many become more unwell and one in six people attempt to take their own lives.’*1
“Staying mentally healthy is one of the biggest challenges we all face today. Mental health problems can affect anyone, no matter what their background. In fact, one in four people experience a mental health problem every year. In England alone, the cost of mental health problems in terms of treatment, loss of earnings and welfare is approximately £105 billion a year.”
“We believe everyone experiencing a mental health problem should get both support and respect. The Government has an enormous role in making sure this happens and in May 2015, Britain goes to the polls to vote for the next government. In our manifesto, we set out the policies we want the next Government to adopt immediately, in the mid-term and by the end of its five-year term. The task is large, but if the Government gets it right the rewards will be far reaching.”
“Attitudes towards mental health problems are beginning to change, momentum is building and we’ve now reached a critical moment in determining the future of mental health and wellbeing in our country. This is our time to build a better future for mental health.”
‘With the election approaching, political parties must invest in mental health and make talking therapies a priority. The next Government must ensure the NHS can offer the full range of evidence-based psychological therapies to all who need them within 28 days of requesting a referral.”
Good mental health is important to every single one of us. Whether we are directly affected or know someone that is, we can all make a difference by supporting MIND in their General Election 2015 campaign.
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*1 We Need to Talk coalition investigation (info is on the Mind website)