Is our mental health being failed by the NHS?

20th February 2020 Clinical Negligence

Is our mental health being failed by the NHS?

Everyone knows someone who has suffered from depression, anxiety or another mental health illness at some point in their life. Mental health awareness is a ‘hot topic’ in the media at the moment, especially during the last week since the tragic death of the former Love Island presenter Caroline Flack. However, you don’t have to look far in the news to hear of other people who have taken their own lives in the last week, whether it is the son who was ‘pushed to suicide’ by his gambling addiction, or the young girl who jumped in front of a train. No matter whom it is who ends their life, it is tragic for everyone who knew them and loved them.

According to a recent study by the Samaritans, there were 6,507 suicides in the UK in 2018. This was an increase of 10% from the previous year. The study also found that men are three times more likely than women to take their own lives and there was also a 23.7% increase in under 25s committing suicide.

Since the heart-breaking news last weekend, there has been an uprising of support on social media for anyone who is suffering with their mental health and who has thought or is thinking about suicide. The prevailing message to be taken away from this is be kind to everyone and remember that you do not know what other people are going through.

Unfortunately, the support that the NHS is able to offer for those suffering with their mental health or contemplating harming themselves is often poor. Whilst we all appreciate that the individual people who work for the NHS are doing everything they can, unfortunately, at JMW, we see many cases where people have been failed by the healthcare system following clinical negligence. This may be someone who has suffered a devastating, disabling injury and who is finding it hard to come to terms with their new level of ability. It may be the parent who has just suffered the heart breaking loss of a child and who has been offered little support with how to cope with this devastation. Or it may be someone who has been failed by a psychiatric clinic and allowed to harm themselves whilst under their care.  

At JMW, we do what we can to help our clients who are suffering with their mental health. We work with various charities who are able to provide assistance to people who need it and we always encourage our clients to tell someone if they are struggling with thoughts of harming themselves or with their mental health in general. As well as helping our current clients, we also investigate cases where there have been failings by the NHS or a private hospital that have led to that person harming themselves or in some circumstances, being given the opportunity to end their life.

We send our sympathies and thoughts to all people and their families affected by these issues and hope this coverage raises awareness of the support available and need to discuss the impact of mental health issues.

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Kathryn Dyson is a Paralegal located in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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