Mental Health Services For Disabled People
Mental health services in the UK have been under review for many years as departments figure out how best to treat disabled people.
The problem is that when we say the word treat’, we don’t always mean medical provisions and medication.
There is also a profound problem with the way that these patients are dealt with.
Feedback from patients about facilities and providers have highlighted some important things to consider when dealing with the disabled and mentally ill.
Physically Challenged People Need Better Access To Mental Health Services.
This works in two ways. Firstly, patients need to have opportunities available in their area. One of the worst offenders here is counseling psychotherapy. The lack of services and the cost mean that many disabled patients just cannot access them. Then there is the availability of staff to help in psychiatric wards or other facilities.
Secondly,disabled patients need physical access. This can be as simple as making sure that GP offices are wheelchair accessible and improving aids in inpatient facilities.
There are too many cases of patients being admitted to psychiatric centers and having their physical disabilities ignored. There are reports of heavy doors, unsafe showers, and self-service food halls. All three show that facilities haven’t considered the fact that physically impaired patients could be admitted.
Why is there the assumption that a patient with serve anxiety or depression is strong enough to open that door and do everything for themselves?
Disabled People Need Better Recognition Of The Needs Of The Mentally Ill.
There is also a strong call for an improvement in the attitude of those dealing with treating mental health. There are reports from care homes when patients that developed mental health issues were immediately treated differently, or even ignored.
The problem has got to the point where it is easier for patients to keep quiet about pre-existing mental health issues than, to be honest. The best attitudes tend to come from those working in “talking treatment” programs.
Perhaps this is because they are there to listen to the concerns and problems of patients rather than follow outdated guidelines. The additional problem is that there are not many of these compassionate therapists out there, which takes us back to the accessibility issue.
Disabled People Need To See Improved Communication Between Mental Healthcare And Physical Healthcare Providers.
A patient suffering from physical and mental trauma should be allowed coordinated care that addresses both sides of the problem. The two are not mutually exclusive, yet some departments seem to act as though they are.
A physically disabled person is at risk of mental health issues due to their financial situation, physical limitations and the stress of government cuts. Similarly, a mentally ill patient could be more at risk of self-harm or accidents, leaving them in need of physical care.
Sometimes this is a simple as dismissing a patient’s physical symptoms as psychosomatic just because they have a history of mental health problems. Alternatively, a physical therapy department could be dismissive of treatment for additional mental health symptoms because it is not their area.
On a related subject, why is pain medication being denied to patients when admitted to a psychiatric ward? This is backward thinking in a country that should acknowledge the vulnerability of the disabled and work to help them.
At the same time, it is important for doctors, therapists and other specialists to provide all the necessary information to the patient. Doctors should know when a medication for a mental condition might affect the medication for a physical condition.
They should also warn patients of these potential side effects before prescribing the treatment. There are too many cases in the UK where this is overlooked.
It All Comes Down To Seeing Patients As A Whole And As Individuals.
It is far too easy to compartmentalize in healthcare. There is one team for heart health, one for neurological health, one for psychiatric help and so on. This fragments the individual and stops healthcare providers from seeing the bigger picture.
The main thing that patients want from their mental health services is respect. It is hard enough for the disable to feel respect and to be listen to in society. When The last thing they are in need is, doctors and therapists ignoring their concerns. Because it is not part of their service or expertise.
Communication, accessibility, and respect are big points raise in the concerns of psychiatric patients with disabilities. However, they really shouldn’t be that much to ask of our healthcare providers.