New figures have revealed that less than a third of people in the UK suffering from depression are currently receiving treatment.
Shocked by this statistic, The Royal College of Psychiatrists sent out a poignant reminder that the nation would be in uproar if this figure was related to cancer patients. With one in four people in the UK expected to experience mental health issues in any given year, an increasing amount of pressure is being placed on the government to invest more time and money into mental health issues.
Although Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt has pledged to deliver ‘parity of esteem’ for mental and physical health services, experts fear that the treatment gap between mental problems and physical illnesses is now so big that it may be impossible to bridge.
Professor Simon Wessely of King’s College London says that in order for 90% of patients to be treated within 18 weeks, just like they are for other disorders, it’s going to require a lot of money and the only place this funding could come from is if significant cutbacks are made in other sectors.
Wessely also pointed out the UK has a serious shortage of psychiatric beds:
“The fact that people are travelling hundreds of miles for a bed, the fact that bed occupancy is now 100% everywhere – in some trusts it’s 110% and we’re hot-bedding – is a symptom of a system in crisis.”
The head of the Royal College of GPs, Clare Gerada, strongly believes that in order to help battle this problem that doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers need to have better mental health training so that there can be a much greater integration of diagnosis and treatment.
If you would like more information about mental disorders, the symptoms and how you can receive treatment, please visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programme page. You can also learn more by visiting our Life Works Depression Knowledge Centre.