Care in the community is often very successful

Release Date: 31 October 2011

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Today, the Centre for Social Justice producted a report which claims that the poorest with mental health problems are failed by ‘care’ in the community.

Simon Lawton Smith, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation says:

“This report highlight some significant gaps in existing mental health care – but also suggests some excellent solutions.

We especially support early intervention in order to help people live with and manage their illnesses at an early stage. This increases the chances of full recovery. The report also contains many good recommendations around support for families and children, and we have long been calling for a public health approach to mental health. It is essential that the forthcoming Public Health Outcomes Framework will take full account of the report’s recommendations.

Another major action is to improve mental health within Black and minority ethnic communities. BME groups continue to be over-represented in terms of the total number of patients detained under the Mental Health Act, and often receive a less good level of care.

It is helpful that the report points out that stigma is the biggest barrier to effectively tackling mental ill health. Stigma and discrimination can worsen someone’s mental health problem and can potentially delay or impede their efforts to get help and treatment, and also their recovery process. Eradicating stigma must remain at the heart of all our work.

But worryingly, some media coverage has portrayed this report as reflecting the failure of care in the community. Care in the community is often very successful. The Care Quality Commission reported recently that 80% of community mental health patients regard their care as good, very good or excellent.

Good community support has allowed people who would have previously been unnecessarily detained in terrible long-stay asylums to rebuild their lives and play a full role in the community. In order to “complete that revolution” of moving away from an institutionalised care model, the report advocates better investment in community care services is needed – not a return to the asylums - and we agree.”