Service users are happy with NHS but want more talking therapies

Most mental health service users are happy with the NHS care
they receive but problems remain in obtaining talking therapies, a
survey has revealed.

Seventy-seven per cent rated their care over the previous 12
months as excellent, very good or good, according to a Healthcare
Commission survey of 26,500 mental health service users who have
been referred to outpatient wards or community teams.

But only two-fifths had received talking therapies, despite the
fact that a large majority found them helpful.

The survey comes in the week Labour peer Lord Layard called for
10,000 therapists to be trained to offer talking therapies on the
NHS to all who need it.

Layard told the inaugural Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
lecture that therapy should be offered to people with depression
and anxiety through a network of 250 national treatment centres,
headed by psychologists.

The new therapists would include clinical psychologists and more
narrowly trained therapists who could receive two years’ part-time
training while working for the NHS.

King’s Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said the report was
encouraging but added: “It is clear that too many have problems
accessing services such as counselling and psychotherapy.”

He argued that more needed to be done to help people with mental
health problems enter the workforce and said children and older
people still lacked comprehensive services.

Mind chief executive Richard Brook said he was most worried
about the lack of information about in-patient experiences, and the
fact that one in four of those who had been sectioned did not have
their rights explained to them.

Sainsbury Centre chief executive Angela Greatley said the survey
showed people rated mental health services highly. But the finding
that half of service users were not given contact details for
crisis services had to be urgently improved upon, she added.

Survey results from

Survey findings

  • 93 per cent of respondents had taken medication for their
    mental health problems.
  • One in five had not been involved in decisions about their
    medication and more than one in three had not been told of any
    possible side effects.
  • Half of respondents had been given an out-of-hours crisis
  • Half of respondents who needed help with accommodation or
    finding work had received it.
  • 84 per cent of respondents had seen a psychiatrist in the past
    12 months and 80 per cent felt they had been treated with respect
    and dignity.


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