Date Published: 11 January 2006

We need crisis services that work - Mental Health Foundation

Mental Health issues - UK

In response to the report released by the Mental Health Act Commission, Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, today said,

" Mental health services are still the poor relation within the NHS at a time when the whole system is creaking. Psychiatric in-patient services are bearing the brunt of this pressure. However, it is not about calling for more resources for outmoded in-patient services and we need to question whether many in-patient services can ever be therapeutic environments for people with mental health problems.

_ Better crisis services and psychiatric assessment units can and do reduce the number of people with mental health problems who use in-patient services, and work needs to be done to ensure that these are provided. There is also a real need for in-patient and other crisis services to work towards the outcomes set by service users."

The charity questions the Mental Health Act Commission's suggestion that there should be a reemphasis on the diversion of mentally disordered people from the criminal justice system, and asserts that it is time for mental health services within the criminal justice system, including prisons, to be substantially improved.

David Crepaz-Keay, Senior Policy Advisor on Patient and Public Involvement at the Mental Health Foundation said,

" Some prisons create mental illness and little work is being done to address the prison environment to make it mentally healthy. Some people need to have offending behaviour and mental health problems addressed in prison. The majority of offenders have mental health issues but they cannot all be transferred to mental health services."

According to the Mental Health Foundation, the ongoing uncertainty about Government plans for new mental health legislation is complicating the issue of compulsion in mental health care. The charity is urging the Government to base new mental health legislation around the rights of service users and to provide greater safeguards for people who are detained.

Source(s): Mental Health Foundation, UK

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