Opinion: Suicide is preventable: we need a coordinated approach to reduce needless deaths

The reporting of suicide in the national media usually only occurs when the deceased is rich, famous, or infamous. Yet it is approximated that one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds.  A report from the World Health Organisation,  Preventing Suicide – A Global Imperative,  examines the need for urgent action to reduce suicide rates by 10% within 6 years. A tall task: made difficult as worldwide the stigma attached to mental health and suicide itself, pushes the subject into the background: an ever-growing elephant in the room. In my case an ever growing Black Dog. That according to WHO is 800 000 people a year and an estimated 20 per person who has died has attempted suicide.

In the United Kingdom, it is evident that more males than females commit suicide: in 2012, there were 4360 reported suicides of which 3400 were male, approximately 3 ½ times that of females. There is a strong reluctance with men to discuss their problems whether they be concerned with mental health or other situational circumstances. The highest rates are with men over 30 years old.

The report states that suicide is preventable; I would personally claim that a significant number of suicides are preventable. A coordinated system of intervention would reduce suicides; as a country, there are still too many people that fall through the safety net. For some reason they face obstruction by certain barriers that prevent them getting the service and care they deserve. On a personal note, I have been at the receiving end of this barrier to access and a close friend of mine has recently been through this: I call it the mental health ping-pong as one department passes you onto another department.

In my previous article on the tragic death of Robin Williams, I alluded to the ‘tawdry nature’ of some of the media. The WHO report clearly states irresponsible reporting of suicides with the intention of “glamorising and sensationalising” can lead rise to the more susceptible in society to imitation of the reported suicide. Of greater concern to WHO, is the increased role social media and the internet in general plays as a source of information: there are many websites that are a force for good and support to those who are ‘on the edge’, yet there are many irresponsible websites that can and have ‘incited and facilitated’ suicide. There are guidelines for the media in the UK, but the internet is relatively free from these guidelines.

The main points the report highlights are that suicide is preventable: I have just commented here on a few of them. They are however important: the stigma; the stigma that men in particular feel; the barriers to accessing the appropriate services and in the last point made better regulation of the media in reporting suicide.

As Liberal Democrats, we are leading the way on the discussion and reform on how mental health is treated in the UK: there is still much to do.

 

* Reg Yeates is a teacher by profession and a sufferer of depression. He comments frequently on mental health issues and volunteers for a local mental health advocacy charity in Portsmouth.

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23 Comments

  • Yes – this is a dreadful problem which causes so many unnecessary deaths. However, we [actually politicians] have created a dog eat dog world that has meant that very few men, in particular, can achieve their ambitions as a result of the global free market – which has created impossible competition for the majority. Also, through creating the false belief that wealth is the route to happiness.

    The current austerity measures [only possible because of the Party’s eager support] apart from making the rich far richer and the poor far poorer, has also meant that the NHS has less money for mental health treatment – so that avenue has effectively been blocked.

    Health professionals are encouraging suffers to engage in the Buddhist practices of mindfulness and meditation, but discouraging the spiritual aspects of the religion. This is a pity because, although mindfulness and meditation can help, it is the loss of spirituality that is the primary cause of the desire to commit suicide as material wealth and other fashionable passions will never bring any true happiness.

  • I welcome articles like this and thank the author.

    It is a vitally important subject that deserves peoples attention.

    I can personally relate to the statement

    ” For some reason they face obstruction by certain barriers that prevent them getting the service and care they deserve.”

    I was first diagnosed with depression & Anxiety in 1995 (no body knew at this point that I had suffered from long term sexual abuse)
    I was abusing drugs as a coping mechanism and it was assumed that my mental disorders where a related to this.

    In 1996, I suffered a breakdown and attempted suicide and ended up in A&E. I left the hospital the following morning with no questions asked.
    Later in 1996, after another suicide attempt I was refereed to mental health services for an assessment with a Psychiatrist, who was more interested in my appearance ( I was gaunt & Skinny) and my drug use. And it is totally true when I say he asked me, Why did I chose Overdose as the preferred method of suicide and not something more likely guaranteed to be successful ( I am not exaggerating I assure you) I came away feeling like a fraud and pretty worthless.
    No further interventions where made and I was not recommended for therapy.

    In 1997, I suffered another Breakdown and it was at this time that the truth came out about the abuse. This time I was referred to a Psychiatrist for a number of sessions, however, this was more for the police’s benefit as they wanted a Psychological impact report for the courts.
    I saw the Psychologist once a month for 5 months , I was offered no talking therapies or support. I was only offered the telephone number of a charity.

    I continued from 1997-2007 with no Support from mental health services, despite worsening conditions and suicidal thoughts. I was referred on a two separate occasions to the mental health access teams for assessments and on both occasions no Interventions where made or offers of therapy, each time they would write to my GP telling him to up my medications.
    After ending up in A&E again in late 2007 with another suicide attempt, this time I was referred back to mental health services for yet another assessment. This time they did offer me 12 sessions of CBT but I had to wait 6 months for these sessions to start.
    I found the limited access to talking therapies a complete barrier for me to making any progress. I felt the limited number of sessions put a huge amount of pressure on me to reveal very personal and traumatic details before I felt ready or able to do so.
    For any type of therapy to work, the patient must be able to build up a relationship with the therapist where you feel safe and secure with the Therapist, the environment but more importantly they must feel safe with themselves. You have to be taught coping and calming techniques and you need to know that the support will be there for as long as you need it. Therapy will not work as long as the fear exists that therapy will be ripped away before the patient feels ready. These are barriers that currently exist within the NHS. When my CBT was stopped I felt like a complete failure as I had not progressed at the speed that was expected of me.

    After my Therapy within the NHS stopped, my depressive disorders, intrusive thoughts and PTSD was worsening, I went back to the doctors in 2009 asking if I could be referred back to mental health services. However, I was told that I had exhausted all NHS talking therapies treatment and I could not be referred for more unless I attempted suicide again, or I was out in public and deemed a danger to myself or others. ( I was gobsmacked to say the least and frightened)
    I had no option but to start pursuing therapy “privately” which I have done weekly ever since.

    In 2012 I had a “privately funded” Psychological assessment done by a clinical Psychologist, in her report she diagnosed me as suffering from
    Severe Depression, Severe Anxiety, Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Phobia and secondary anxiety Phobia’s
    She stated that I needed 24 sessions of CAT Therapy. She diagnosed me with having a severe and permanent mentally disabling disorder but with her recommended treatment it should alleviate some of the symptoms and the severity.
    This report was given to my GP. Mental health services decided that this was regarded as “private treatment” and would not give me the recommended treatment.
    In August 2013. My symptoms were getting even more severe and at crisis point. I under went another “privately funded” Psychological assessment by the same Clinical Psychologist, this time her report was revised and she recommended that I needed to have 24 sessions of Trauma-Focused CBT immediately followed by 24 sessions of CAT and she stated that unless I get this treatment my prognosis was poor and I would remain “Severely, permanently, mentally disabled”
    This report was again passed on to my GP who in turn passed it on to mental health services, I had to wait 5 months to even get an appointment for an assessment with the NHS and then had to wait a further 4 months for therapy to begin.
    When the therapy finally did start the NHS refused to give me the treatment which was recommended by the Clinical Psychologist and instead decided to treat me with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
    They would not even tell me how many sessions I could have. They just kept saying that it would not be in the format or for the length of time as recommended by the private Clinical Psychologist, Because the NHS does not offer long term talking therapies.
    EMDR is a very aggressive and intensive approach to therapy, you are expected to reveal very early on in the therapy all the trauma’s of your past and the distressing episodes of Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder Triggers.
    In my personal experience, by not being told just how long I would get therapy and support for, not having the time to build up a sense of trust with the therapist or myself and not knowing what support structure would be there for me if the therapy did not work or if my condition worsened. This in my opinion destroyed my chances of the therapy being successful.
    I felt I was being put under so much pressure and expectations, The therapist kept accusing me of “sabotaging my therapy” because I was unwilling to open up and share details of the traumatic memories of the abuse and the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Triggers. She kept telling me that Therapy will make my depressive worse before they got better and I needed to accept this. However, I was unwilling to allow this to happen as I did not feel safe with her as a therapist or my ability to cope, My self harming was escalating, my suicidal thoughts were increasing and my conditions in general was worsening and in the end the therapy had to stop because even the clinician decided that it was no longer feasible or safe for me to continue.

    I am continuing with my weekly “privately funded” therapy which I fund out of my disability benefits.

    I have zero confidence or trust in the NHS as an organisation to treat my mental health disorders. I fear what will happen to me were I not able to continue to meet the costs of the private therapy.
    Going by my past experiences with the NHS and the lack of interventions over the last 20 years, the near impossibility of getting access to talking therapies.
    Part of me wants absolutely nothing to do with the NHS and the mental health team anymore anyway, they have failed me on so many occasions over the years, why would I want to go back to them? I have far more faith and trust in my weekly private therapy. But not wanting something and not getting something is entirely different. I can not understand how someone can be in the state that I was in and get no support from the NHS whatsoever. It left me feeling very worthless and scared in the realization that the NHS was never going to be my Savior and come to the rescue in times of need.

    I want to see the attitudes in the NHS with regards to mental health totally change.
    You wouldn’t limit treatment for a cancer patients to see an oncologist.
    You wouldn’t limit treatment for people with a bowel disease to see a Gastroenterologist
    Why then, in this day and age is it acceptable to ration and limit the treatment for people with mental health disorders?
    Why do the NHS mental health trust operate on this absurd one cap fits all approach to therapy?

    People are individuals, some of us have very complex mental health disorders and we need an individual approach to therapy, but more importantly the support and services needs to be readily available.
    Until people with mental health are started to be treated like PEOPLE rather than a STATISTIC then nothing will change and unfortunately more and more people will become susceptible to suicide.

  • Today is also World Suicide Prevention Day.
    http://bit.ly/1weGOAd – Please visit Mind

    John – Society has created the myth of wealth = happiness, and it can be a major cause for anxiety and stress. the dog eat dog world we live in, certainly do little to alleviate the problem. I am not religious, so can not comment on its efficacy in the treatment. What should be accessible are a range of treatments that suit the patient not just the health care professionals.

  • John Roffey 10th Sep '14 - 1:43pm

    Yes – I do agree Reg. However, as I posted – it does seem an extraordinarily difficult task, from where we are presently, to get this or any near future government to invest the necessary funds in mental health care.

    I feel I should explain that Buddhism is not a faith, essentially it is a very detailed examination of the human psyche by some very able individuals over many years. Its conclusions might be described as – if we want to be happy – we must love ourselves. To love ourselves we must act in accordance with our ‘true self’ and that we will only know our true selves if we look deep inside ourselves – achieved through meditation.

    This process also causes us to unearth any traumas that we have suffered, but have buried these [along with the attached emotions] deep in our unconscious mind – and these buried emotions can regularly cause us difficulties.

    I spotted this ‘new treatment’ – which does have similarities to the Buddhist way – have you come across it?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2376132/TV-psychotherapist-Benjamin-Fry-devastated-depression-Then-discovered-radical-new-treatment.html

  • Matt,
    I agree with your assessment of the NHS at present. It is a Kafkaesque labyrinthine nightmare for anyone suffering mental illness to access the treatment they deserve. The next government has to deal with this, there has to be equal parity between physical and mental health.
    I hope that the treatment you have now is helping you reach a form of recovery (I am unsure as to whether anyone truly recovers from depression) I cannot lie, it is a struggle from day to day; it is finding a tiny hint of light. I sincerely hope you find that light.

    John,

    I have not heard of it: it does seem another avenue that is worth pursuing, another method of treatment, that should be made available.

    Thank you all for the comments.

  • Nick T Nick Thornsby 10th Sep '14 - 5:06pm

    John Roffey

    “The current austerity measures [only possible because of the Party’s eager support] apart from making the rich far richer…”

    It is a matter of fact that austerity since 2010 has made the richest disproportionately poorer than the poorest (see pages 10 and 11 here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/293738/budget_2014_distributional_analysis.pdf).

  • Stephen Campbell 10th Sep '14 - 5:39pm

    I, too, have suffered from mental health problems. Like Matt, I have also attempted suicide and been abused as a child. I won’t go into details – I simply don’t want to – but the mental health system in the NHS is still abysmal, even after all these years of coalition and supposed extra funding for MH.

    One thing the NHS does not seem to get is that medication cannot solve everything. In fact, medication can even make things worse by masking the problems. Not to mention the fact that nearly every psychiatric medication I’ve taken came with horrible side effects and even worse withdrawal effects. Both of which I was told repeatedly, by several doctors, should not happen. That the withdrawal was “all in my head”, even when I pointed them to scientific studies, a few which were conducted by the drugs companies themselves. In fact, I suspect I have a form of long-term and possibly permanent brain damage due to one of the drugs I was on. But nobody believes me. And if I even question the fact that I’m taking more drugs than I feel I need, I get classed as “non-compliant” for even questioning the need for so many drugs. The system is uncaring, intimidating and makes me feel even worse. I’ve had several psychiatrists and none of them really want to actually LISTEN to me. Just drugs and more drugs. Unfortunately, I simply cannot afford to go private at all. So I’m trapped.

    I do not feel suicidal any longer, but I do still suffer from horrible, black, soul-destroying depression. And, yes, part of this is down to the way our society is currently run. Every time I step outside, I’m bombarded with endless advertisements. Everything is a “marketing opportunity”. I am not a human being, I am a “human resource” and my worth is based on how much money I make (or don’t). We’ve created a greed-centred economy where the value of beauty and emotion and the simple things in life mean nothing if they aren’t making a profit. I know it’s accepted to denigrate the post-war consensus and the 1970s, but I and many people I know were, at least, happier then. We had stable jobs. We never worried about choosing between food and heating. We didn’t see the outrageous and unwarranted levels of vulgar wealth we now see. And, yes, I do in part blame the way I feel on how our society and economy have been run since the 1970s.

    @Nick Thornsby: “It is a matter of fact that austerity since 2010 has made the richest disproportionately poorer than the poorest”

    Yes, well, the rich will have to buy a £75 bottle of champers vs. a £100 one. Meanwhile people such as myself are hit with the Bedroom Tax (with no suitable property to move to) and are having to choose between food and warmth (again) this winter. Prices have gone up constantly and my wages have not. I’m barely struggling to survive and stay in work as it is with my mental health so poorly, so your cold, emotionless statistics about the rich being “hurt” won’t wash with me. They’re starting from a point of already having more than they need while people such as myself and Matt didn’t even have all the basics *before* austerity. But then again, it’s been a very long time since I felt the Lib Dems truly cared for, let alone sympathised with, those of us on the breadline. Mainly because the party is now run by the comfortable middle-classes who have no idea of what it’s like when you have £2 to last you a week before payday. But I’m sure you’ll just dismiss my experiences and thoughts as one of a dinosaur.

  • John Roffey 10th Sep '14 - 6:04pm

    @ Nick Thornsby

    I only raised the issue of austerity measures because it is these that have reduced the NHS budget – from which any additional help for those with mental health difficulties would come. Since there is not any likely near future government that intends to challenge Osborne’s financial strategy of austerity measures, I believe that alternative solutions need to be found.

    This is needed to help the existing sufferers who are not being treated, the many young children who will suffer trauma as a result of being separated from their mothers at a very young age – because they have returned to work, the elder children who are left to fend for themselves in hostile school and after school environments – whilst their parents work, [coupled to extensive viewing of porn which enflame the passions] and the current 6/700,000 lonely elderly people – which also disturbs mental wellbeing.

    We already have an epidemic of mental ill health – and we are storing up even greater problems for the future by , what seems a deliberate attempt, to undermine family life. The Party must share its blame for supporting the Tories with Osborne’s austerity measure program.

    Any difference in opinion on who is getting richer or poorer probably can be explained in different definitions of the rich. I was referring to the extremely rich – bankers, multinational executives and major shareholder.

    I suppose the cases of individuals committing suicide for lack of treatment occur every day – but these caught my eye in today’s Mail:

    Husband battling depression was found dead after he was told he would have to wait six months to see specialist

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2750661/Husband-battling-depression-dead-told-wait-four-months-specialist.html

  • Nick,
    I hardly think this is right forum to pick a hole in someones comment on who has been hit hardest by austerity measures. I think it is a subject better tackled elsewhere. I am minded to point out though that the full impact of welfare cuts have yet to be fully measured. So, whilst the richest bared the brunt initially the poorest will probably be the losers long term. and according to the ONS income inequality slightly increased 2012/13 .

    Stephen,
    Just been digging around for some information, worldwide austerity has led to a rise in male suicide. So, I do think there is a case to be researched in socio-economic causes. It is also true now, that as we’re supposedly returning to growth, that growth is led on employment that is increasingly insecure, which again leads to anxiety and stress.

  • @Reg Yeates

    I agree with you “there has to be equal parity between physical and mental health.”

    I am just not convinced that any of the parties are serious about it. Labour did nothing during their last term in Government and I am sorry to say, neither has the coalition government during this government, despite the promises we have heard coming from party leadership.
    If they were serious, why not do something about it now? Why does the can keep getting kicked down the road, How many consultations and white papers do we need to tell us the system is letting down vulnerable people.
    If the Government wanted to act they would.
    We are now seeing through the Scotland Referendum all 3 major parties offering immediate reforms .and untold Billions of extra money if Scotland votes No.
    Why is it that government can push through legislation and billions of pounds in the blink of an eye for one thing, but it is taking years to close the gap between mental and physical health.

    I am even tempted to Invite Norman Lamb round for coffee one day and share with him exactly what it has been like for me living with depression for over 20 years and the complete lack of support and mental health services. To share my experiences and why I feel the approach to mental health access and talking therapies is totally wrong and in desperate need of overhauling.

    “I hope that the treatment you have now is helping you reach a form of recovery (I am unsure as to whether anyone truly recovers from depression) I cannot lie, it is a struggle from day to day; it is finding a tiny hint of light. I sincerely hope you find that light.”

    The treatment I am having now which is privately funded, which I have been having for a number of years. I wouldn’t say it is helping me to recover. It does however keep me alive and gives me a safe space for me to express all my emotions, instead of me bottling them up all the time which then becomes overwhelming and dangerous for me. It also gives me “instant access” when I reach crisis points and suicidal and intrusive thoughts escalate. Instead of having to wait months and even YEARS on the NHS.
    And I agree with you, I am unsure if people truly recover from depression, for me it’s all about managing the depression.

    @Stephen Campbell

    I feel your struggle Stephen

    “One thing the NHS does not seem to get is that medication cannot solve everything. In fact, medication can even make things worse by masking the problems. Not to mention the fact that nearly every psychiatric medication I’ve taken came with horrible side effects and even worse withdrawal effects. ”

    I know what you mean, my medication has been chopped and changed so many times over the years. It’s almost like they would prefer to try you on different medication rather than send you for any kind of therapy.
    I have just had a new medication introduced, before I was on Mirtazipine, Zopiclone and Amitriptyline. Now they have stopped the Amitriptyline and put me on Quetiapine. The side effects of the new medication are awful, they make me slur like I am drunk and really lethargic, but they do calm down the intrusive thoughts.

    “The system is uncaring, intimidating and makes me feel even worse. I’ve had several psychiatrists and none of them really want to actually LISTEN to me.”
    I really feel what you are saying. I think the problem is that we are still relying on a study done in the 90’s when a couple of renowned Psychiatrists came up with a treatment plan for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Due to limited resources they devised a treatment plan based on a 12 session course of therapy. Ever since then this has been seen as the accepted course of treatment. A one cap fits all approach to therapy.
    In my opinion this does not work, People are complex and have individual needs and therapy needs to work on an individual basis to suit that persons needs.
    There is nothing worse than feeling like a statistic and sadly that is very much how the NHS mental health services makes you feel, dehumanized and a statistic.

    “Unfortunately, I simply cannot afford to go private at all. So I’m trapped.”
    I totally understand what you are saying and it is that feeling of being trapped that exasperates peoples conditions. It is totally unfair and not the way society should be treating vulnerable people.
    I can not really afford to go private. I have to use £40 a week out of my Disability Benefits in order to fund my private sessions. If god forbid I lost my disability benefits I would be well and truly …….. It is a struggle finding that money each week, but then I know the importance of me maintaining the sessions. I do not have a life outside of my home (literally) so I guess I find it a little easier to make my money stretch to pay for these sessions.

    “I do not feel suicidal any longer, but I do still suffer from horrible, black, soul-destroying depression. And, yes, part of this is down to the way our society is currently run. Every time I step outside, I’m bombarded with endless advertisements. ”

    I am glad you are managing to keep the suicidal intrusive thoughts at bay and I know how much of a struggle that can be. I do also feel like society contributes towards soul destroying depression as you put in, but I think it is more to do with the way the Government and especially the Tory party has denigrated people on welfare. We used to live in a far more caring and tolerating nation, but over the last 4 years especially, some members in government seem to have gone all out in attempt to erode Great Britain of it’s compassion towards the poor and vulnerable. The public have been inundated with false facts and figures in order to stir up contempt and sadly a very large proportion of the population have fallen for the propaganda. This sadly has added to the despair and isolation so many people with mental health disorders feel.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Sep '14 - 10:21am

    Hi Reg, I think this is an important article. Suicide is horrific and I agree more should be done to prevent it, or at least things need to be done better. This is one area where the state does have a role.

    I will leave it to the experts for now, but I’m fully behind doing things to reduce suicide and depression and I think we can do more. Not all of these measures involve mental health services – creating a better society is just as important.

    Regards

  • @Eddie Sammon

    “I will leave it to the experts for now, but I’m fully behind doing things to reduce suicide and depression and I think we can do more. ”

    The problem is Eddie. The so called experts are really not doing very much at all.

    If we want to see changes, we need articles like this to raise the awareness and we need people like yourselves to engage and express outrage at the inequality between Physical and Mental Health within the NHS.

    We need people like Caron Lindsay who cares very much about those who suffer from mental health and is driven to champion the cause and put pressure on those who are in a position to make changes.

    Many of us with mental health disorders do not appear to have much of a voice when it comes to Government and we are ignored. . We are not on their lists of target voters.

    We rely on the larger electorate to speak out and to say to Government very clearly that this is not acceptable.

  • John Roffey 11th Sep '14 - 1:41pm

    @ Matt

    Whereas I do have the greatest of concern for those who suffer mental illness – this will not be an issue that can honestly be championed by the Party – unless there is a fundamental change in strategy.

    Presently the Party’s strategy is to stay close to Tory policy so that another coalition can easily be formed after the GE and NC can remain DPM – hoping that there is a hung parliament and enough MPs seats can be clung on to – to provide the requisite number of MPs.

    Tory policy is to reduce the amount spent on the NHS – privatizing as many of the services as possible. Mental health is not attractive proposition for privatization because of its complexity and difficulty in measuring improvement.

    Whilst this is the Party’s aim – it cannot have a policy of significant increases in NHS spending – which is needed so that a greater share of its budget is devoted to mental health. This would create a serious clash in the two party’s policies and NC would once again have to break a manifesto commitment.

    Only if the Party’s aim is changed – to one of an independent party disconnected from the Tories – could this cause be honestly championed along with other social measures. Presently the Green’s, who have recently declared themselves a socialist party, is the best party to champion this cause.

  • @John Roffey

    This is really depressing John, though I fear you maybe right.
    “Whereas I do have the greatest of concern for those who suffer mental illness – this will not be an issue that can honestly be championed by the Party”
    ” Presently the Green’s, who have recently declared themselves a socialist party, is the best party to champion this cause.”

    I could never vote Green Party as they will never be in a position where they would hold the balance of power.

    I have been disillusioned with Labour since 2001 when I had a run in with Charles Clarke the Home Secretary at the time. My sexual abuser was being released from prison and he was going to be moving into a flat opposite to the flat I lived in. I was devastated, I had to seek the support of the media to stop this from happening, Charles Clarke was looking into my case and said somethings that I found lacked complete empathy and really offensive. I was never able to bring myself to vote Labour again whilst he was in Government.

    In 2010 I voted Liberal Democrats because I truly believed that the party would hold the balance of power and a new form of politics was on the horizon and I believed in the possibility of a fairer society.

    If none of the major parties can be trusted to bring in the desperately needed changes to mental health provisions, then who can we turn to?
    The only way we can hope to force change is for people to put themselves above partisan politics and demand the changes that so many vulnerable people need.

    You can force the Governments of the day to listen. It is you the people that have some power, you can talk about it at your conferences which gets media attention and raising awareness.

    This kicking the can down the road can not be allowed to carry on any longer.

    This has not happened to me personally, but I know of people that it has.
    Some GP’s are now referring patients who are presenting with depression and other mental disorders, They are being refereed to charities like Mind body and soul http://www.norwichmind.org.uk/index.php?page=45
    The NHS funds 8 session counselling,http://www.norwichmind.org.uk/index.php?page=45
    After these sessions have expired you are offered further sessions at the cost of http://www.norwichmind.org.uk/index.php?page=46 £30-£45 per session.

    What happened to the NHS being free at the point of use? This is an outrage and all it s doing is lining the pockets of private providers at the expense of society’s most poorest and vulnerable people.

    We need you the British Public to speak out and say this is not acceptable and make governments listen.

    Has the Tory Party really been successful in their aims during this Governments reign of terror on the poor and disabled totally managed to erode the compassion of the British Public?

    What dark scary times we live in, no wonder suicide is on the increase.

  • @Joe Otten

    “(And if it hasn’t, we need to try to understand why it hasn’t.)”

    What are the reasons Joe why you think it hasn’t happen?

  • John Roffey 12th Sep '14 - 1:52pm

    @ Joe Otten

    In the simplest terms – if a far greater proportion of the NHS budget is spent on mental health – then far less will be spent in other areas unless the NHS budget is increased substantially. Whereas, under Osborne’s plans [supported by the Party] the NHS budget is ring fenced – there is certainly no intention of increasing the budget substantially and the existing budget is under considerable strain.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28229249

  • John Roffey 12th Sep '14 - 2:24pm

    @ Matt

    “What happened to the NHS being free at the point of use? This is an outrage and all it s doing is lining the pockets of private providers at the expense of society’s most poorest and vulnerable people.

    We need you the British Public to speak out and say this is not acceptable and make governments listen.

    Has the Tory Party really been successful in their aims during this Governments reign of terror on the poor and disabled totally managed to erode the compassion of the British Public?

    What dark scary times we live in, no wonder suicide is on the increase.”

    Although there have been public outrages at the treatment of Ashya King and his parents and at the child abuse cases in Rotherham which have and are likely to result in the significant action being taken – a major increase in the NHS budget to provide for much needed mental health care is not the type of issue that is so obvious to the public that similar campaigns can be expected or even successful.

    The issue does require a Party – with a reasonable chance of exercising influence on how we are governed – to champion the cause.

    I would accept that it is an issue that could and should be championed by the Party – however, if it is to do so it must decouple itself from the Tories so that it can have an independent financial policy. A turnover or transaction tax would oblige the multinationals to pay their fair share of tax [in place of the easily avoided corporation tax] so that this, and many more social injustices , can be tackled.

  • John Roffey 13th Sep '14 - 9:25pm

    I think it is worth noting that C4 News do seem to be taking up the cause of treatment of the mentally ill. This must be good news as they do tend to be tenacious.

    http://www.channel4.com/news/mental-health-trusts-funding-cut-beds-shortage-foi

  • Thanks for posting that John

    The gentleman in that News story is from my home town of Norwich. I know how shockingly bad the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is.

    As for the emergency crisis team, well that is a complete joke as well, my partner has left messages on the answering service before and it took day’s to get a response and that was only after he was chasing them up.

    If it were not for my “privately funded” therapy and I was solely reliant on the NHS I can say with absolute certainty I would have been dead .

    I am really reluctant to say anything negative about Norman Lamb, He has had a lot to say about access to Mental health since being in the coalition government and I was really hoping that Lib Dems in Government might mean that we would start to see real change.
    But the truth of the matter is, it is simply not happening, the same responses keep being put out in statements, however, in reality there have been no changes during the last 4 years of this government and if anything, things are getting worse.

    Norman Lamb said in a statement to Channel 4 http://www.channel4.com/news/mental-health-trusts-funding-cut-beds-shortage-foi
    “That’s why I’ve asked NHS England to introduce access and waiting time standards for mental health to make sure the money goes where it is needed to give patients the best possible care.”

    I am sorry that is complete fudge. What is the good of “asking” the NHS to introduce waiting times? What we need is legislation that writes it into law.

    It has to be said that the party has been in government for over 4 years now and it had a real opportunity to make much needed changes. It is clearly not going to happen during the remaining life of this parliament and it is highly unlikely that the party will be in government again after 2015 and would have even less influence from the opposition benches.

    During the course of this parliament approx 22’000 people suffering from mental health would have committed
    suicide.

    1 in 20 children have been sexually abused
    http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/resourcesforprofessionals/sexualabuse/statistics_wda87833.html
    There was 18’915 “RECORDED” sexual crimes committed against children in 2013 (obviously the true figure unreported crime is much higher. It has been said that only about 10% of sexual abuse crimes gets reported)
    Taking just the figures from the “reported” crime numbers. during the 5 years of this government 94575 Children would have been the victims of sexual abuse.
    The tragic and devastating consequences of the abuse will totally derail their lives and result in long term mental health problems.
    The need for early intervention and mental health support is vital.
    These services are already hard to come by. This is a ticking time bomb that is waiting to go off and nobody is listening.

    No more white papers or consultations.
    Stop kicking the can down the road!

    It is time for action now.

  • I apologise for not being able to add comments to this since Wednesday, the stories and experiences of several commentators and their harrowing experiences have/had set a trigger point in me. Reducing me to tears in fact. It is still evident that there is still much to do to tackle Mental Health and Mental Illness in the UK. Politicians of all hues need to recognise that investment in research and treatment is just that, an investment.

    I thank you all for carrying on the debate and I hope that individually you can write to your MP; your LD PPC and even Norman Lamb. I have found that Tim Farron and Paul Burstow to be very receptive to my enquiries and supportive of my contributions.

    This will probably be my last OpEd on such a harrowing topic: not that it is not important and needs to be discussed; more to do me and the ‘triggers’ it sets off.

    Once again, thank you for all your comments and to those of you still suffering, I hope that at some point you will find the peace you, we all, truly deserve.

  • @Reg Yeates

    I feel awful. I am really sorry if my posts triggered your own PTSD or depression. I really never intended to do that, honestly.

    I do sometimes get very heated and over share details when I talk about my own abuse and mental health disorders.

    I should stop and think more about how my post might affect others.

    I am just really passionate about the need for changes, to try and protect future generations from the same fate as our own which is totally debilitating and destroys life chances.

    Sorry again, I do want to take the opportunity though to thank you for writing the article.

    I hope you recover soon and Best Wishes

    Matt

  • Matt,
    Thanks, but really it wasn’t just your account of the dreadful experiences you have endured and, there is no need to apologise. I was aware when I posted this that it may set off a ‘trigger’: my mechanisms for coping and managing them are not so good however.
    Your story, as with others on here, need to be told: have to be told – and I thank all of those who have in my opinion been extremely brave in laying bare to the demon that is Mental Illness. The more we shout: my hope is the more the decision makers will listen.

    Take care Matt.
    Thanks once again.

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