Mental Health

Mental Health Services In England And The Right To Choose

Mental Health Services

Mental health is a tricky subject to talk about in Britain. The NHS has links to some different organizations and mental health care providers, but patients may not be aware of their options. This guide to mental health services will look at the issue of self-referral, the right to choose and the options available.

The UK Mental Health Services Were Eligible For Self-Referral.

Mental Health Therapy

There are two different routes when accessing free mental health care in the UK. Some patients in need of help will be referred to specialists and charities by their doctor. Others will be able to self-refer themselves to services that suit their situation. Self-referral provides a sense of control, but it can be helpful to discuss options with a GP first.

There Are Many Types Of Mental Health Provision Where Professionals Work With The NHS To Provide Treatment Options. This Include:

  • Occupational mental health care provided by employers
  • Child and Adolescent mental health care for those in college or school
  • Veterans programs for former servicemen
  • Treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction
  • IAPT therapy

The NHS also provides online services to help patients gain a better understanding of their current mood and state mind. The NHS Choices mental health services cover a lot of ground. They have an online directory of service providers in categories such as anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug dependency and eating disorders.

Patients can book these mental health services through the NHS e-referral system. This online service will take appointments via the website, providing patients have their GP request letter. If this is not possible, they can call the phone line or have the GP book it for them.

The Right To Choose Your NHS Mental Health Service.

Mental Health

These range of options for self-referral highlights the importance of the right to choose in mental health care. Whether the service is a referral by a GP or not, the final choice in procedure should be made by the patient where possible. A GP is there to offer the best advice about the next stage in mental health provisions. The final choice of the provider of the treatment is up to the patient, providing that the local clinical commissioning group stipulates that service.

There are some cases this right to choose is taken away, which can be distressing for some patients. Availability of treatment options is a significant obstacle in the UK mental health industry, and this can have an impact on treatment choices. Freedom of choice is also taken away if the patient is a prisoner or is detained in some way. This can mean detainment in any of the following:

  • court
  • children’s home
  • immigration removal center
  • young offender institution
  • hospital
  • psychiatric hospital

It should also be noted that while veterans have the right to self-referral and GP advice, serving members do not.

Will Patients Have To Wait A Long Time Before They Get Their Appointment?

Waiting times in England are still a problem, and this is also true for mental health services. Cuts and a lack of funding mean that it may be a while until standards improve. The standards in April 2016 were to see 75% of referred patients treated within six weeks of their original appointment. It is also hoped that 15% of adults referred to IAPT services will receive “timely access” to a 50% recovery rate. Patients must remember that they have the right to request a referral to a different facility if they are not seen within 18 weeks.

What Can UK Patients Do If They Feel As Though They Are In Immediate Danger?

It is understandable that this system of GP appointments, referrals, and long waiting lists just isn’t appropriate for all patients. Some patients with severe disorders, anxiety or depression will need to be seen much sooner. This is particularly the case for anyone that may be a risk of suicide. There are helplines available for different organizations. The most well-known are the 116123 number for the Samaritans which runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Any incident that is life-threatening can be treats as a medical emergency. Patients and family should not feel bad about calling 999 if there is a serious problem or threat to health or life.

There is a lot to view when choosing the right mental health services. Patients should always be aware of their right to treatment, their right to choose and the different services that are available for free on the NHS.

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