Working hard for you
Alison Seabeck joined nearly 40 fellow MPs last week at a House of Commons reception hosted by Mind to discuss the challenges faced by people with mental health problems in getting access to emergency mental health care.
Speaking directly with local people who use mental health services, care providers and experts, Alison heard about ongoing problems with people struggling to get help from hospitals or community teams, and heard suggestions for improvements so that people with urgent mental health needs can get the good quality care they need, as soon as they need it.
The event was introduced by Minister for Care Services Paul Burstow MP, and presented findings from Mind’s year long investigation ‘Listening to experience’ into the state of acute and crisis care across England and Wales. Other speakers included Charles Walker MP as well as ‘crisis care champion’ 23 year old Elizabeth East from the Midlands, who described her own experience of inadequate crisis services, and set out a vision for change.
Alison Seabeck said:
“I am delighted to be able to support Mind in highlighting this important issue.”
“One in four people have a mental health problem, some of whom need intensive support when they reach crisis point. It’s important to remember that when we talk about emergency health treatment, such A&E, that people need emergency treatment for mental health too and they should expect the same standard of care they would get for any other health problem.”
‘Listening to experience’ is a report on the findings of a comprehensive year-long independent inquiry into acute and crisis mental health care. Hundreds of patients and professionals (1) told Mind’s inquiry panel of crisis experts (2) that while excellent crisis care does exist, there are problems with inpatient hospitals and community crisis teams including people struggling to get help, staffing problems, poor quality care environments and not enough treatment provided to help people recover.
Key recommendations identified in the report include:
• A review of effectiveness of care: Commissioners should review whether local services are meeting people’s mental health needs.
• Improvements to wards: Hospital wards should be therapeutic environments, where people can get respite in treatment somewhere that is safe, clean, comfortable, and hospitable.
• Improving service range: Commissioners should expand the range of crisis services available, for example to include crisis houses, host families, service user led crisis services, and retreats.
• Availability of talking therapies: Government and commissioners should ensure that psychological therapies are available to all people using acute and crisis services, within 28 days of referral
• Staff attitudes: Staff should be recruited not just on clinical skills, but personal qualities such as compassion, caring and sensitivity to the need of people with mental health issues.
• Restraint practices: In some hospitals, staff still use face down restraint, which has lead to avoidable deaths. A ban should be introduced on using face down restraint.