An Introduction

Welcome To A Jackals Voice. The intention of this blog is to be an outlet for myself and others on topics that are not generally discussed...

Friday, 2 June 2017

The NHS and Mental Health

'Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the burden of disease worldwide.1 In the UK, they are responsible for the largest burden of disease– 28% of the total burden, compared to 16% each for cancer and heart disease.' - :Page 7.

Hello everyone. Today I am going to try and shed some light on how Mental Health is combated by the NHS of the UK. I've done a little research and most of what will be discussed within this post I will leave citations to. I have found a number of very interesting documents and articles that I believe many of you may find interesting. Obviously I couldn't possibly cover everything in one post so I will be creating a new label for these posts.

Mental Health has been slowly gaining recognition in recent years. Current statistics in the UK say that one in four people will develop a mental condition within their lifetime. My own situation is still under investigation, and in all honesty I am not convinced I am going to be back to 'normal' any time soon. It has been over six months since my condition surfaced and I still have not met with a neurologist.
Whilst my own situation may not be resolved so quickly, I am pleased to find out that there has been some increased spending on Mental Health in recent years, although it is focused on particular groups. The Initiative I am referring to is IAPT (Improved Access to Psychological Therapies). The program was supposed to dramatically increase funding for Mental care in order to increase access for patients and potentially enable a greater number of people to re-enter the workplace. From 2008 to 2011 the spending was supposed to reach £173 million, and 3,600 new IAPT therapists were to be trained. Whilst most of this is directed towards helping those with anxiety, depression and OCD, I do feel this is a step in the right direction. However, whether or not the goal was achieved is somewhat hard to determine, the website itself noted that, according to the Guardian, only 400 therapists had been trained in the first year, but notes that official statistics showed the contrary.
More details of the objectives of IAPT can be found on their webpage at :

This is good news for a lot of people, and I'm sure that the initiative will go on to help many recover/cope with their conditions. On the other hand, a lot of the information I have gathered is not so reassuring.

According to the Mental Health foundation; 'Mental health research receives only 5.5% (£115 million) of total UK health research spending.' Considering that a potential 25% of the population could be affected by Mental health conditions, this is very concerning. Furthermore; 'Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the burden of disease worldwide. In the UK, they are responsible for the largest burden of disease– 28% of the total burden, compared to 16% each for cancer and heart disease.'

Looking at this from an economic view, this makes absolutely no sense. Considering how much Mental Health costs the government in taxes (People that are unable to work) and the amount of strain that is put upon the NHS, why is it that the spending is so low? I don't claim to be a genius when it comes to economics, but even to me this seems ridiculous.
However it does explain why the list of treatments for those suffering with Mental conditions is remarkably small. Anyone with a condition can tell you that Step 1 is drugs. Step 1 can go on for a very long time, as they have literally hundreds of different pills to treat 'similar' conditions. All this is before you are even referred to any sort of Psychiatrist. Step 2 is CBT. CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has shown some success with managing anxiety and depression. However, CBT seems to be all that is offered. The table below was pulled from the IAPT website, and whilst I do think they are trying to do some good, the amount of times CBT shows up is incredible. In my own experience, CBT was not very helpful, however it can be of use and I fully appreciate that. However it seems to me that once a doctor has given you some anti-depressants and referred you for CBT you are completely forgotten about. I believe this because it wasn't until I started having muscle spasms and vocal tics that I actually got referred to the Mental Health Team.

I accept that Mental Health is only just beginning to be taken seriously, but the lack of research and overall disinterest is just astounding. One in four people, and yet only 5.5% of the NHS's budget.
Over to all of you. What do you make of all this? Do you know any other sites that can be of use to those looking to do some research? Please leave a comment below of contact me by e-mail or on Facebook.
Until next time,
A Jackal's Voice.