Rehabilitation services urgently needed for people in NI with the most severe forms of mental ill health.
Northern Ireland urgently needs to address gaps in service provision for people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders and severe bipolar illness according to a new report published today by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in NI. Rehabilitation is a highly effective treatment which can transform lives. It is cost effective and is totally consistent with the current philosophy of Recovery based services.
The report, Recovery for People with Severe Mental Health Problems in NI, was produced collaboratively by RCPsych in NI and the 6 main mental health charities in NI: Mindwise, Action Mental Health, CAUSE, Aware Defeat Depression, Niamh and Praxis.
The authors of the report, including services users and carers, met today with the All Party Group for Mental Health in Stormont and advised that people with such severe and complex needs are at risk of a new form of institutionalisation stuck, as they are, in acute mental health wards – Trusts must be held to account for how they plan to develop their rehabilitation services to meet the needs of this group. With appropriate rehabilitation 60% of people are able to progress to successful supported community living within 5 years and around 10% will achieve independent living.
Rehabilitation Services – which include therapeutic living environments, multidisciplinary teams and psychosocial interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy – are essential and whilst all of the mental health services in NI have some kind of rehabilitation service this has tended to be almost an accidental by-product of the hospital closure programme.
Dr Diana Cody, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in NI, said:
“These services are patchy, considered as low priority and often delivered in poor quality environments”
David Babington, Chief Executive, Action Mental Health, said:
“Schizophrenia is a illness affecting approximately 4 in every 1000 people – this is a relatively small but not insignificant group who deserve the best treatments available – people in receipt of good rehabilitation services are eight times more likely to achieve and sustain successful community living”
Anne Doherty, Deputy Chief Executive, Mindwise, said:
“People can become “stuck” on acute wards due to the lack of an available service to meet their needs and this leads to distress and institutionalisation which is completely contrary to what TYC or Bamford advocates”.