A critical picture of mental health provision is emerging across Yorkshire as campaigners warn of unacceptable waiting lists, a postcode lottery for care, and a crisis service not robust enough to cope with growing demand.
Today, The Yorkshire Post has examined in detail the landscape of provision across the region, from children and young people to emergency beds and acute care. As concerns are raised over waiting lists of up to a year for services, campaigners call for early intervention to prevent what has become the “Cinderella story” of our generation.
“While the majority of people get the help and support they need, that doesn’t excuse the percentage of those who are facing unacceptable waiting lists and inadequate care, and whose lives are being left at risk because they can’t get the treatment they need,” said David Smith, chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Mind. “It’s really worrying to see the terrible disparities in healthcare provision across different areas. I’ve never known a time when mental health was so important, in both the political and health sphere, but to the public as well.”
The Yorkshire Post investigation shows that since October, more than 400 vulnerable patients have been sent up to 180 miles from home for care as the county faces a critical bed shortage, at a cost of £1.7m. There are more than 150 people waiting for life-saving psychosis intervention in Yorkshire, with many having waited more than three months already for emergency care. And as concerns are raised over waiting lists for therapy reaching up to a year in some areas, campaigners call for action to challenge perceptions, increase funding, and bring in greater literacy and education for young people who are the most at risk.
“Mental health problems affect everybody,” said Jenny Edwards CBE, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation. “It costs the economy £105bn a year, and it’s behind a third of all visits to the GP. Mental health has become the Cinderella story, yet if you do end up with the struggle of a long term medical condition, it’s you mental health that will get you through.”
NHS England says it has committed to its biggest transformation of mental health care in a generation, pledging to invest more than a billion pounds a year by 2020/21, and help more than a million extra people.
* If you are struggling to cope, call Samaritans free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope.