As the millennials are now coming of age, what is the state of mental health in the UK and what does it augur for the forthcoming decades of the 21st century?
FIRTLY, SOME FACTS:
• Despite significant increases in staffing (consultants, nurses, therapists etc), mental health services are drawing negative publicity
• There have been huge advancements in the range of medications available to treat mental illnesses, and we have a plethora of available therapies
• Over the last 10 years, the government has spent some £300m on improving psychological therapies, mainly CBT
• Patients with serious mental illnesses and their carers generally feel under-supported
• Increasing numbers of people are being treated under the MHA, with a bias towards the BME populations
• There has been an exponential increase over the last 25 years of people with MH difficulties being confined in forensic psychiatry, low/medium secure units and prisons
• Prescriptions for mental illness have soared – anti-depressant prescriptions have more than doubled over the last 10 years
• There are high levels of stress amongst MH professionals, being manifested in the rates of sick leave and staff turnover, and causing problems with recruitment and retention
Are we, as a nation, becoming ‘madder’? Or does the problem lie in a conflict between our rights and responsibilities?
Or is this the manifestation of stigma operating at personal (self), familial (small groups) and societal and global (large group) levels, resulting in MH training no longer being fit for purpose?
My question is, how do we ensure that our MH professionals are prepared to negotiate the complexities of reality, where, when it comes to MH matters, emotions and unconscious factors (personal and collective) are in conflict with social regulation and control? Isn’t it time the trainers themselves review their training in order to develop the resilience and robustness needed by staff?