Mental health services at crisis point

29th February 2016

Mental health services at crisis point

It’s hardly surprising that years of chronic underfunding of mental health services have left the system at crisis point.

There has been a noticeable increase in the number of cases of this nature that we have dealt with in recent years – an increase that has a direct correlation with swingeing budget cuts and the controversial decision to merge the Norfolk and Suffolk trusts.

Evidence of the devastating state of services was revealed in a leaked government report earlier this month, which found the number of people taking their own lives themselves is soaring and that three-quarters of those with psychiatric conditions are not being helped.

One of my own cases offers a brutal assessment of the current situation.

A young mother, in crisis for six months, fell between the gaps in the system having been passed from pillar to post with seemingly no-one willing to take responsibility for her care. She took her own life – a tragedy that was utterly avoidable had the system not failed her.

It appears that the same mistakes are being made time and time again. I have personally dealt with a number of cases of suicide occurring when a patient in crisis has been turned away.

Mental health problems can affect anyone in this day and age because our lives are so pressured. Perhaps the time has now come to start treating mental health in the same way we do with physical illness.

The financial constraints under which trusts are being forced to operate are largely to blame so it is pleasing to hear the government has pledged to invest more than £1billion annually by 2020/21 to ensure people facing mental health crises can access community care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But deep-rooted problems remain – and that is one reason why I believe passionately that those affected by failings in the system should seek legal advice with a view to making a claim.

Anyone thinking of doing so should be under no illusion: the process is not easy. In fact, it’s very difficult.

But when, for example, you have a young dad left caring for two children alone, his wife having taken her own life after her cries for help were ignored, it is only right that the authorities are held to account.

Legal action can’t bring a loved one back but it can provide some compensation to ease the financial pressures in their lives as a result.

Making a claim can also help a family find the answers about what went wrong. That closure can be a crucial aspect in the grieving process.

And it can highlight a particular failing in the services and, as a result, persuade health bosses to make the necessary changes to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.

We are very proud of our work in supporting those who have been let down by the system. If you feel you fall into that category, please get in touch to find out how we can help you, too.

How can our solicitors help you?

If you feel you would like to have a confidential chat with me on this or any other case where you feel that you have you received poor treatment or been failed by the NHS, I can offer you a free initial chat and a claim on a no win no fee basis.  Please call me on 01473 298125 or email [email protected]

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