Mental Health Reform expresses disappointment at stagnant mental health services

The national mental health coalition Mental Health Reform has expressed concern that the Inspector of mental health services has found that mental health services were ‘stagnant and perhaps have slipped backwards in 2012.’ The Inspector’s comments were published alongside the 2012 Annual Report of the Mental Health Commission. The Inspector’s continued finding that services are uneven in quality across the country points again to the need for a national programme of reform driven by the Director Designate of Mental Health Services.

Director of Mental Health Reform Orla Barry commented: “We are very concerned that while new staff are being recruited, the Inspector is critical about difficulties in recruiting staff and comments that junior staff are receiving inadequate supervision. He also comments that staff are under enormous pressure.”

Orla Barry continued: “We welcome the Mental Health Commission’s call for a review of A Vision for Change and the Inspector’s support for a human rights-based approach. The Inspector commented that while people can be ‘reasonably assured of a reasonably satisfactory standard of treatment in a caring and compassionate manner’, most will be offered a more traditional medicalised version of treatment rather than that propounded in A Vision for Change. This finding highlights that the majority of mental health services have not changed culture in a way that reflects the Government’s mental health policy.”

“The need to strengthen community services is apparent from comments made by the Inspector. While identifying the unacceptable number of 106 16-17 years olds who were admitted to adult units in 2012, he also comments that health and social care professionals in child and adolescent mental health services could be more usefully employed by sharing their time between inpatient units and the community. The Inspector also advocates increased availability of out-of-hours assessments. Mental Health Reform welcomes this recommendation, which reflects service users and family members’ long-standing wish for better crisis services within the community”, Ms. Barry concluded.


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