In 2012 we teamed up with the Psoriasis Association to launch the campaign ‘See Psoriasis: Look Deeper’ calling for better understanding of the impact that psoriasis has on everyday life and highlighting the urgent need for multi-disciplinary care for people suffering with psoriasis.
Psoriasis can affect you emotionally as well as physically, but it can often be difficult to express exactly how it makes you feel with friends, family and even healthcare professionals. This campaign looked beyond the physical aspects of psoriasis and acknowledged the bigger life impacts it can have, including mental wellbeing.
We launched a new report, Recognising the Life Impact of Psoriasis on 17 October 2012 in the Houses of Parliament to help raise awareness of the long-term mental problems that living with psoriasis can cause. This event was hosted by Paul Beresford MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, and attended by people living with psoriasis, health experts and MPs.
We are calling for the impact of psoriasis on a person’s psychological wellbeing and overall quality of life to be better recognised by politicians, the NHS, patients and their families. We hope to increase awareness of the real-life challenges of living with psoriasis.
The campaign uses creative expressions of thoughts and feelings from people who suffer from psoriasis. Patients were invited to submit a postcard addressed to their psoriasis to express how it impacts their daily lives and mental wellbeing.
The campaign also asks people with psoriasis to talk to their healthcare professional about the emotional impact psoriasis may be having on them, and to insist on help and support when needed.
The report reveals an urgent need for support and psychological care for psoriasis patients. Psoriasis is estimated to affect up to 1.8 million people in the UK.
The multi-faceted nature of psoriasis means the psychological impact of the condition can be just as debilitating as the physical symptoms. Approximately one third of psoriasis patients experience depression and anxiety, with one in ten admitting to contemplating suicide. However, healthcare professionals tend to focus on the physical symptoms and often overlook asking patients about their psychological wellbeing.
Dr Christine Bundy, a member of the collaboration and Senior Lecturer in Behavioural Medicine at the University of Manchester said,
“There is often a cyclical link between the physical and psychological impact of psoriasis. The condition can cause emotional distress and worry for sufferers which can trigger a psoriasis flare and impact on progression of psoriasis, so patients can often feel trapped in a despairing cycle as they try to cope with their condition. We need to do more to ensure we are looking out for psychological symptoms and providing people with the condition the full support they need to manage psoriasis.”
Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said,
"The Mental Health Foundation has long called for the better integration of physical and mental health services. This includes routine assessment of the psychological needs of patients, in the light of the strong evidence of the inter-relationship and connection between physical health problems and mental health. It is essential that all staff supporting patients with a primary diagnosis of psoriasis are fully aware of the links between the two and are able to facilitate assessments and, where there is an assessment need, care and treatment that address all their health needs holistically".