Date Published: 8 October 2005

Physiotherapists demand improved access to mental health services

Health News from the United Kingdom (UK).

Physiotherapists meeting for their Annual Congress (7-8 October 2005) are calling for significant improvements in the provision of treatment for people with mental health conditions, particularly in the most deprived areas of the UK, where the incidence of mood or anxiety disorders is highest.

An analysis of official Government figures on mental illness conducted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) shows that pockets of deprivation across the country dominate a list of Wards with the highest incidence of mental illness. Wards in Tyne and Wear, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Chester, Norfolk, North Devon, Brighton and Hove, Dorset, Cumbria, Cleveland, Kent and Lancashire all feature on the CSP's list.

By contrast, parts of England with high employment have a lower incidence of mental health problems. Examples include York, Wokingham, Mole Valley and Runnymede in Surrey, Ryedale in North Yorkshire, Stoneleigh in Warwickshire Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Tonbridge and Malling in Kent and Hart in Hampshire.

The CSP believes reducing the incidence of mental illness should involve both investment in the provision of appropriate healthcare services and greater attention to the root causes of such conditions.

CSP Chair of Council Grahame Pope said:

" The Government has made tackling social exclusion one of its key manifesto pledges. One way of taking this agenda forward is to look carefully at the correlation between mental illness and poverty.
_ Common conditions such as depression and stress can give rise to various mood and anxiety disorders. These illnesses can cause a lack of motivation to get on with life, which can make finding and holding down employment difficult.
_ Specialist mental healthcare physiotherapists can help address the symptoms of such illnesses. They can also advise on self-management and exercise, which can lift mood and reduce the need for medication.
_ We are calling on the Government to ensure mental health services are adequately resourced, and to offer people hope of a healthier and more prosperous future by taking steps to address the underlying causes of mental illness."

Source(s): Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, UK (http://www.csp.org.uk)

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