Insight into community mental health care in 2017; a five part blog series
The publication of the 2017 Community Mental Health Survey, on 15 November 2017, offers some insights from over 12,000 people that use mental health services in England. Among other findings, the survey illustrates that many service users experience difficulties in accessing the care they need and when they need it.
In this second blog of a series of five, CEO from The Mix Chris Martin considers whether we can be confident that our community mental health services can support the rising number of young people struggling with mental health issues.
At The Mix, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future. In particular, we focus on how the interventions we make today might change the course of children and young people’s lives to ensure better outcomes. When we look at the future pattern of available mental health support in the UK for this generation, we have some concerns.
The 2017 Community Mental Health Survey shows that while there is still excellent support available to over 18s delivered by skilled and dedicated practitioners, worrying cracks are appearing in the quality of these services. A quarter of people report being unable to access crisis support (this figure was 40% for 18-25 year olds) or that their medicines had not been reviewed the previous 12-months.
Moreover, when good outcomes for young people are built on trusted relationships and smooth transition to adult mental health services, it is of even greater concern to us that people reported changes in who they dealt with; almost half (48%) of 18-25 year olds had unrequested changes to the people they saw. The sense of not having an agreed treatment plan and not being listened to are also of great concern.
While much of the feedback on community mental health services was good, these problems feel like the result of pressure on the system that has meant the movement toward the consistent, people-orientated care we would want for future generations may be slipping out of reach. Indeed, just half of respondents age 18 to 25 (51%) rated their overall experience of community mental health services as a 7 or above.
75% of lifelong mental health conditions will manifest in young people by the age of 18. Moreover, we know there is a genuine rise in the number of young people who might conceivably need ongoing support around their mental health in their lifetimes. Almost half of those surveyed for the National Citizenship Service’s Youth Report said they suffered from anxiety while NHS Digital have reported a sharp rise in A&E presentations by young people with mental health related issues in 2017.
Looking at these statistics we might reasonably conclude that we must prepare for an even higher level of demand on services from today’s young people as they become adults.
In the Mental Health Task Force Five Year Forward View, We have a strategic vision but we know that our frontline mental health services are struggling to cope today. Without greater investment to meet rising demand, we must be concerned about their ability to support future generations.
Chris Martin, CEO of The Mix
In the next blog in this five part series, Age UK considers what the findings tell us for older people’s experience of community mental health services in England.
The Mix is a free, confidential information and support service for under 25s, helping over 2 million young people in the UK each year.
Whatever issue a young person is facing, The Mix is always here for them – online, over the phone or via social media. We connect young people to experts and their peers to talk about everything from money to mental health, homelessness to jobs, break-ups to drugs and more.
Today’s young people face an unprecedented range of challenges including a rise in mental health problems, soaring rents, high levels of debt and a lack of job opportunities. They will be the first generation worse off in physical and emotional terms than their parents. The Mix’s mission is to ensure that every young person can make an informed choice about their wellbeing – wherever and whenever they are.
www.themix.org.uk – 0808 808 4994