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Mental health emergencies: a GP’s assessment

by on March 28, 2014
Mental health emergencies are the most frightening and time consuming I experience as a GP...

Mental health emergencies are the most frightening and time consuming I experience as a GP…

Mental health emergencies are the most frightening and time consuming I experience as a GP. Not because I lack the clinical skills to assess the patient, but because the resources are too thinly spread for me to get adequate timely care for them.

That’s the stark and honest assessment of GP Louise Hyde in response to an article published by The Guardian this time last week: Inside the UK’s mental health crisis: ‘It is my view that people will die’. The entire article makes sobering reading as columnist  reports on the effects that the government’s funding cuts are having on the ability of mental health support workers to deliver the care people need; and “people will die” as a result is the equally stark assessment of one senior nurse from which the article draws its title.

Here’s how Dr Hyde concludes her comment:

Under the recent austerity regime I have seen the most vulnerable patients suffering disproportionately...

Under the recent austerity regime I have seen the most vulnerable patients suffering disproportionately…

Under the recent austerity regime I have seen the most vulnerable patients suffering disproportionately, and this has a knock on effect on the severity of illness at every level, from turning minor stress to clinical depression, to destabilising those with chronic and enduring mental health problems. We need both social and political change to prevent worsening of our mental health problems, and adequate funding to ensure that when the very worst does happen there is a safety net in place.

This echoes precisely what we’ve been saying here at 5 Quid for Life since the day we launched: it’s why we’re here, to provide a mental health safety net, to help ensure that vulnerable people whose basic needs for life have been removed by the government’s austerity measures can live, not die. We can’t cover the funding gap in the NHS, of course, but we can help some of those facing crisis because their benefits have been axed.

But we can only help people if they know about us, so once again our appeal to you, our supporters and friends, is to help spread the word: if you haven’t already done so, please like our facebook page and share it; follow us on twitter, tweet about us or give us a retweet; or print out a flyer/poster and give it to your local library or ask your GP to display it in their waiting room.

Want to do even more? Please consider sending a copy of this post and the Guardian article to your MP — let them know how much damage the government’s cuts are causing, tell them what you and your friends are doing about it and ask them what they’re doing about it.

Last but not least, for those who’ve been asking what’s happening with 5 Quid for Life: we’re currently reviewing our ninth enquiry and expect to be able to make a decision about issuing a payment very soon. As always, a massive thank you to everyone who has supported the project so far: without your generosity, we’d be unable to help anyone. Your support changes lives and may even have saved some.

My thanks to Manchester Mind @ManchesterMind for their tweet which brought the Guardian article to my attention.

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