Campaign over mental health support for people living with heart and circulatory diseases

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF.
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More than half of people living with heart and circulatory diseases have struggled with sadness, anxiety or depression, surveys reveal, with many struggling to access support.

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The British Heart Foundation, campaigning for better access to mental health support, surveyed almost 5,000 people living with conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.

Over 58 per cent of respondents had struggled, the findings published this month reveal, with similar numbers experiencing feelings of anxiety, fear and uncertainty about the future.

Furthermore, according to analysis of patient data by the foundation, more than a third of working age adults in the UK living with coronary heart disease have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression by their GP.

This is a rise of 30 per cent over the course of a decade, it warns.

Call for action

The BHF is now urging the NHS and Government to ensure that emotional and psychological support is a core consideration for everyone affected by heart and circulatory diseases.

“Suffering a heart attack or stroke or receiving a diagnosis of any heart or circulatory disease can be devastating, so it’s unacceptable that so many people affected are not getting the emotional and psychological support they so desperately need," said Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF.

“Everyone should have access to support and care that addresses their psychological needs alongside treatment of their heart or circulatory disease. And we need to fund more research to better understand the support needs of those who are affected.

“For anyone who has had a heart attack, stroke or heart surgery, or has been told they have a heart or circulatory condition, it is normal to feel low, worried or anxious.

"We would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or low to talk to a friend or a partner, ask your GP for advice, or contact the BHF.”