Tag Archives: #timetotalk mental health

Making a difference – the first Mental Health First Aid Impact Report

I blogged several years ago about my experience of training as a Mental Health First Aider. Since then, I’ve lobbied and worked to bring equal parity of esteem to mental and physical first aid.

So I was keen to read the first Impact Report from Mental Health First Aid England: does MHFA really work?

The statistics which open the report remain shocking. An average of fifteen people per day took their own life in 2017. The approximate cost per year of mental ill-health in England is £105 billion. And that does not include the personal cost of lives changed and relationships altered forever.

Over 140,000 people were trained in Mental Health First Aid in 2018/19. That is from the beginnings of training 9,000 in 2009. To date, over 400,000 people have had mental health first aid training. This includes the full course as well as the bespoke Armed Forces course; the course for those working in Higher Education; and the course for those working with young people.

Many employers now use Mental Health First Aid in training line-managers and promoting well-being in the workplace. The evidence shows that 72 million working days are lost each year due to mental ill-health. Several testimonials in the Impact Report give strength to the argument that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Alan Millbrow of Three UK says,

Mental Health First Aid is an essential part of our well-being strategy…..It has had an immediate positive impact on our people….We are keen to continue to break down barriers.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

The perils of ignoring the physical health of people with mental ill health

I feel a bit sad this morning.

The reason for that is this story on the BBC which outlines how the physical health of people with mental ill health can be ignored as GPs assume that the reason for all their symptoms is related to their mental state. In a study of medical records over a five year period, researchers found that just a fifth of emergency admissions to hospital among patients with mental ill health were for their mental state.

In the final year, for every 1,000 people with mental health problems there were 628 emergency admissions, compared with 129 among those without – five times the rate.

Visits to A&E units were also three times higher, with more than 1,300 attendances for every 1,000 patients with mental health problems.

The researchers said many of these could have been prevented with better care.

Report author Holly Dorning said: “It is striking that people with mental ill health use so much more emergency care than those without and that so much of this isn’t directly related to their mental health needs.

“This raises serious questions about how well their other health concerns are being managed.

“It is clear that if we continue to treat mental health in isolation, we will miss essential care needs for these patients.”

Posted in Op-eds | 1 Comment

Opinion: Cancer stresses me out #timetotalk

Jupiter ArtlandTime to talk 2015Over the last 15 years, my wife and I have supported family members through 10 rounds of cancer.  My mother had ovarian cancer, with relapses and recurrences 4 times over 8 years before it took her.  My father had lung cancer twice before it took him.  My mother-in-law had pancreatic cancer and passed away in under a year.  A month before she passed away, her boyfriend started complaining of headaches and weeks afterwards was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away within 6 months.  My wife’s grandfather was treated for a stomach tumor and is now doing really well, celebrating his 85th birthday tomorrow.

And 18 months ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, but fortunately has had an amazing response to the wonder drug Herceptin and has been given the all clear and is steadily getting back to full strength.

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments
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