Mental health awareness is welcome but more funding is needed
It is Mental Health Awareness Week. Julian Tyson of Coodes Solicitors Mental Health and Community Care team welcomes the greater openness around mental health but calls for more provision for those who need support.
“We are seeing a great shift in attitudes to mental health. The campaign from the Royal family, led by Prince Harry, is the latest initiative to encourage people to talk about mental health problems. Mental Health Awareness Week and the Government’s National Time to Talk Day do a great deal to change attitudes and raise awareness of the importance of good mental health. There is now far more understanding of the impact of mental health problems within the armed forces and more public support to those affected.
“It is great that there is now more acceptance. Mental illness is being destigmatised so it is no longer a marginalised issue. It is becoming more palatable for people to share their experiences. An example is the new “one in four” page on Facebook, which reflects the fact that 1 person in 4 is likely to be affected by mental illness, and now has nearly 22,000 followers.
“With more of us opening up and talking about mental health problems, more people are also seeking help when they need it. Sadly many of those people are not getting the support they need. It comes down to funding.
“In a number of recent tribunals, I have been aware of the lack of provision for people who need mental health treatment and support. Services are under-funded and over stretched. In many cases, no one from the Community Team has been available to attend a tribunal and in others they have not be able to offer the client home support promptly after they are discharged.
“Here in Cornwall, we face particular problems because there is a shortage of local treatment so many people are moved to hospitals hundreds of miles away from home. People really need the support of their families and friends when they are mentally ill so it is vitally important that they are treated locally. This is also key to them settling back into the community after their treatment, which is always the goal.
“So, I welcome the greater acceptance, awareness and openness. I applaud Mental Health Awareness Week and the awareness raising activity of the Government and other bodies. But this on its own is not enough. We desperately need more resources to support people with mental health problems.”