Mental health issues have come into much greater prominence in public discussion compared to just a few years ago. In 2016, the government published its Five-Year Forward View, which included a promise to fund mental health services by an extra £1bn per year by 2020/21. Whilst some progress has been made, services remain underfunded and fragmented. Our next event in a series of mental health conferences Meeting Mental Health Needs: Practical Interventions to Improve Solutions will be another excellent opportunity to discuss and analyse the latest developments and track the journey towards a system of better treatment, integration and funding.
There has been some significant progress in some areas of mental health. The Minister for Loneliness role was created by the Prime Minister in January 2018 in response to loneliness and isolation becoming more widespread in UK society. In May 2018, the government announced NHS perinatal mental health care would be rolled out across the UK. But despite steps like these, there is still a long way to go to bettering each aspect of mental health. It is a very big picture that needs a lot of magnifying down onto the many specifics to see an overall improvement.
There are several factors in achieving an overall improvement in the general population’s mental health. These range from early intervention and parity of esteem to improving integration and whole-person approaches. It is not only healthcare that should hold responsibility for improving people’s mental health. Other institutions play a pivotal part such as social services, housing, education and the criminal justice system. This is sometimes missing in the mental health picture. All corners of society should be putting enough time and effort into considering the mental health of the people with whom it comes into contact. At this event, you will gain improved understanding of the myriad of factors and issues surrounding mental health.
Children, young people and students’ mental health care is a particularly pressing concern as it is a key stage for early intervention to prevent issues developing later in life. A recent NSPCC report showed that in 2017-18, almost 19,000 children aged under 11 were referred for specialist mental health support. With regards to students; greater academic and social pressures, a lack of personalised pastoral care and growing financial burden mean that mental health issues in higher education is on the rise. Suicide rates amongst students have hit record levels in recent years. Students can also face up to four months waiting times to see a counsellor about their issues.
Numerous reports by governmental and non-governmental bodies have focused on the myriad aspects of mental health such as quality of care, different age groups, funding and more. Many of these highlight the importance of user-led service design. This includes the Care Quality Commission’s ‘The state of care in mental health services 2014 to 2017’ published in April 2018. It stated “The one area where mental health staff could do better as caring professionals is by engaging patients as true partners in their care. […] In too many services, care plans do not truly reflect the patient’s voice.” The report also identified five main areas of concern which included concerns about staffing shortages, ‘locked rehabilitation wards’ and the use of restrictive practices and physical restraint to deescalate challenging behaviour.
There are further problems at providing adequate mental health support within certain institutions such as higher education, as previously mentioned, and within workplaces. The Thriving at Work report (October 2017) commissioned by the Prime Minister found that 300,000 people a year are leaving their jobs due to long-term mental health issues. Moreover, in May 2018 a poll of 700 managers by the Institute of Directors found that 40% had been approached by staff with concerns around mental health and the failure to offer appropriate training. This is an increase of 12% from the previous year.
The issues of inequalities within the system continue to prevail. This can include people with mental health issues not receiving adequate care for their physical health issues, as well as people from more disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds less likely to receive the care and treatment they need. Many services users have taken power into their own hands and used creative methods such as blogging, vlogging and podcasting to share their stories and find others to relate to, thereby aiding mental health.
Whilst the Five Year Forward View promises to fund mental health services by an extra £1 billion per year, the NHs and other bodies continue to struggle to provide for rising demand.
In April 2018, the Care Quality Commission published a report on ‘The state of mental health care 2014-2017’. This identified five main areas of concern which included concerns about ‘locked rehabilitation wards’, staffing shortages and the use of restrictive practices and physical restraint to deescalate challenging behaviour. The report also highlighted the importance of user-led service design as well as focusing in on case study examples.
Centre for Mental Health, Kaleidoscope and Rethink Mental Illness are working together with support from the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to create an Equally Well collaborative in the UK. The idea was initiated in New Zealand and will bring together health and care providers, commissioners, professional bodies, service user and carer organisations, charities and many more. They will work nationally or locally, to form a collaborative in the UK to bring about equal physical health for people with a mental illness.
The issues of inequalities within the system continue to prevail. People from more disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds are also less likely to receive the care and treatment they need.
Recent studies and reports have shown that stress, anxiety and other mental health issues are increasingly being put down to people’s working lives. A poll of 700 managers by the Institute of Directors found four in 10 had been approached by staff with concerns around mental health. The Thriving for Work report also shows that 300,000 people a year are leaving their jobs due to longer-term mental health issues. There needs to be a greater effort to ensure employees are comfortable in their jobs and prevented from being over-worked.
Facing greater academic and social pressures, a lack of personalised pastoral care and growing financial burden, mental health issues amongst students is on the rise. Until 2009-10, the rate of male and female students reporting mental health issues was about 0.5%. By 2015, however, it had risen to 2.5% of female students and 1.4% of male students. Suicide rates amongst students have hit record levels in recent years. Students can also face up to four months waiting times to see a counsellor about their issues.
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America Square Conference & Events Centre brings together the contemporary with the uniquely historic in bright, innovative spaces located in the heart of the City of London's Square Mile. The historic Roman London Wall runs through the venue providing a memorable backdrop to conferences, where delegates can enjoy presentations, mingle with exhibitors and enjoy a hot lunch in a secure, self-contained suite of rooms.
· Acute and Community Mental Health Services
· Allied Health Professionals
· Area Managers
· Business / Service Development Managers
· Care Co-Ordinators
· Chief Constables
· Chief Executives and Assistant Chief Executives
· Clinical Commissioning Group Members
· Chairs of NHS Trust Board
· Clinical Commissioning Groups
· Directors / Heads of Nursing
· Directors / Heads of Public Health
· Directors / Heads of Adult Social Services
· Directors / Heads of Children’s Social Services
· Directors / Heads of Housing
· Directors / Heads of HR
· Disability Advisors
· Equality and Diversity / Inclusion Managers
· General Practitioners and Practice Managers
· Heads of Commissioning
· Heads of Service
· Heads of Strategy
· Heads of Supported Employment
· Health and Wellbeing Boards and Managers
· Housing Associations
· Medical Directors / Officers
· Social Workers