Thousands of people have attempted suicide while on an NHS waiting list for psychological treatment, according to a comprehensive new study of mental health services in England.
In the latest evidence of a hidden mental health crisis, a coalition of leading charities and medical professionals report that one in 10 patients are waiting for more than a year just to be assessed for treatment, and one in six made an attempt on their life while on a waiting list.
GPs report a “huge rise” in the number of mental health conditions, which has coincided with cuts to mental health services and psychotherapy posts in many parts of the country.
The consequent delays in accessing treatment can be disastrous for patients, the report from the We Need to Talk coalition warns. In a survey of 2,000 patients, one in six said they had attempted suicide while waiting for treatment, four in 10 said they had self-harmed, and two thirds said their condition had deteriorated before they had a chance to see a mental health professional.
The report, which focuses on referrals for treatment under Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, also reveals stark variations in the number of patients being referred and treated on time in different parts of England.
Full story in The Independent 16 September 2014