Mental health patients in UK and US face similar lack of treatment options

Mental health patients in UK and US face similar lack of treatment options

March 21, 2019

Mental health patients in UK and US face similar lack of treatment options

Mental Health

Recently, a noted U.K. daily called Independent reported that a National Health Service (NHS) patient who had to be detained for 10 days in a general hospital due to a shortage of psychiatric beds, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), as an outcome of this ordeal. The patient, Clarence (name changed), who is in her 30s shared that her condition deteriorated after she was sectioned by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, post a suicide attempt in November 2018.

Ironically, the plight of patients with mental illnesses in the United States is no different than hers. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), only around 41 percent adults suffering from a mental health condition in the U.S. received treatment for the same in the past year. Further, 62.9 percent adults with a serious mental illness, received mental health services in the past year.

Diagnosed with PTSD

Sharing her plight, Clarence said that she went to the hospital in need of help and came out feeling no better, as she was not offered psychotherapy and was given a lower dose of medication. To add to her woes, she came out of the hospital diagnosed with an additional condition of PSTD. She blamed this largely on the admission process of the hospital, not being listened to, and other people making decisions for her without taking her thoughts into consideration.

Clarence works in a mental health role in the NHS and has not been able to resume work. Although she has supportive friends and family, she said that it should not be up to them to care for her, especially since the NHS Foundation Trust had decided that she was ineligible for psychotherapy. This decision was taken by the trust keeping in mind the fact that Clarence had attempted suicide twice in less than six months.

Detained under Mental Health Act

Clarence felt that the doctors panicked, since it was her second suicide attempt and that they got worried as their earlier response had not been good enough. Thus the doctors at the Accident and Emergency department (A&E), resorted to taking another extreme step of detaining her under the Mental Health Act, after a long 17-hour wait. They also told her that there were no psychiatric beds available anywhere in the U.K. at that moment.

The Mental Health Act is intended to detain those patients who may be a risk to themselves or others. The act also makes treatment decisions for such patients. However, considering a 30 percent increase in the number of people being sectioned between 2011 and 2015, this act definitely needs sweeping reforms.

Medical help still not received

Sharing further details pertaining to her case, Clarence shared that there was no treatment and hardly any contact from the psychiatric liaison team during the time she spent at the hospital. She said her frustration doubled when she was deemed medically fit and made to feel that she was occupying a bed that could have been allotted to someone else.

Although the staff member who recommended Clarence to be sectioned came to apologize for the entire episode after eight days, it took another two days before an NHS-funded bed was found for her at a branch of her private priority group. After seeing a consultant, they agreed to send her home, three days later. But according to Clarence, although it has been two months since she has been discharged by the community health team, she still feels she is in desperate need for medical help. The trauma that she had to undergo as a result of waiting for so long and yet not receiving appropriate treatment, further deteriorated her condition leading to PSTD.

Inadequate mental health beds pose significant burden for hospital staff

Dr. Ranga Rao, head of acute care at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that due to the shortage of beds in the hospitals, it becomes increasingly difficult for the staff to accommodate people needing help. The protocol requires them to first consider nearby NHS hospitals before searching further afield. He added that with the number of mental health patients rising, the availability of acute beds has declined.

According to one of the reports, the NHS apparently spends £350 million every year on out-of-area placements and private facilities if there is no capacity available locally. However, this is far from being an ideal scenario, as patients may have to be sent miles away from their family members for months at a stretch.

Mental Health Treatment at Invictus Health Group

The situation faced by Clarence reflects the difficulties faced by mental health patients in the U.S. also. At a time when a lot of people in America are also deprived of adequate mental health treatment, Invictus Health Group excels in offering comprehensive assessment and treatment for mental health disorders. We offer both individual and group therapies in a compassionate manner that empowers individuals by instilling encouragement, hope, healing, and recovery, in them. The various inpatient treatment programs at Invictus Health Group are designed to provide therapy and treatment for all age groups.

If you or a loved one is battling a mental illness and is looking out for reliable mental health treatment programs, feel free to contact the Invictus Health Group. Call our 24/7 mental health treatment helpline 866-548-0190 to learn more about our research-backed mental illness treatment programs. You can also chat online with an admission counselor to learn more about how we personalize the treatment program for each and every of our patient to ensure lasting recovery.

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