More than 90,000 people in Tayside on mental health medication, as plans to improve services revealed by health board
A staggering 93,000 people in Tayside are prescribed a medicine for a mental health problem, 26,508 of which are prescribed 12 or more medicines.
Meanwhile, in Dundee, one in four people are on antidepressants.
Health chiefs have approved the final plan on how they hope to transform mental health services across Tayside.
The NHS Tayside board members have approved the “Living Life Well” plan which details how mental health services will be transformed over the next five years.
This comes after an independent inquiry published its findings back in February and concluded there had been a loss in trust in the region’s mental health services.
The inquiry made 51 recommendations and said this trust needed to be rebuilt with staff, patients and the wider community.
The ambition of the new plan is to make sure everyone has equal access to support, and to ensure those with mental health disorders, substance misuse issues or learning disabilities experience the same mortality and physical health as the whole population and to make sure they are able to achieve education, employment and social goals.
A full life free from stigma and discrimination
This new redesigned service will be “needs-led” and “person-centred” to make sure the person with mental health issues is able to see the right professional at the right time and place.
The report states: “Mental health and wellbeing has a profound impact on quality of life.
“This strategy advocates a holistic approach and is fundamentally about achieving better mental health and wellbeing for all, where people in Tayside can live a full life free from stigma and discrimination.”
Work will be done to try to reduce the prevalence of common mental health problems through social prescribing and by promoting self-management of the condition with options for treating
mental health illnesses aside from taking medication.
Despite the high numbers on medication, the report details that medicines do not work for everyone.
Support 24 hours a day, including at weekends
Work will also be done to improve suicide prevention by making sure those struggling with suicidal thoughts are given the right help first time round, and to ensure support is available 24 hours a day, including at weekends.
For children and young people, they themselves as the patient will be put at the centre of planning their care, and a new perinatal and infant mental health team will be introduced in Tayside in 2021.
Crisis and urgent care will also be reviewed, wards will be improved to make sure they are safe and therapeutic, and treatment for those with emotionally unstable personality disorders will be improved.
A range of measures will also be introduced to improve staffing and staff morale in NHS Tayside’s mental health service after a culture of bullying was exposed.
The report states bullying and harassment will not be tolerated with conflict resolution to be improved.
More support will be offered to junior doctors and consultants on-call, training will be improved for junior doctors and more will be done to attract trainee psychiatrists to Tayside.
Furthermore, GPs and patients will be more informed on what mental health conditions can be managed in the community, and what conditions require hospital care.
Speaking at the meeting, Grant Archibald, chief executive of NHS Tayside, said it was clear changes had already been made to mental health services in the region.
He said: “When I first started the priority was mental health services.
“We recognised this was an area we wanted to demonstrate improvement for the whole population and we have involved people who bring in specialist skills and we have worked hard over many years.
“This was a commitment to change and to let our population know we really meant what we said.
“This is not just about inpatients, this is a far broader emphasis on the whole of Tayside because we can genuinely transform the landscape of mental health and wellbeing for the whole population.
“We said we would listen, we said we would learn, and now it is time for us to change.
“We need to let people know why this is better for the person sitting in Lochee, or the person in Montrose, who needs community-based mental health services, or hospital care, or just support to get their lives to a place where they are living well.”
Link to Evening Telegraph article here