Tuesday, 24 December 2013

mental health "cinderella" service - who will be Prince Charming?

A Christmas letter to Michael Matheson, MSP, Minister for Public Health, Scottish Government:

Dear Mr Matheson

I attended the fringe event on mental health at the SNP conference in October, held in the George Hotel, Perth, my home town, where you spoke about mental health being the "cinderella" service.  At the same top table were SAMH and Mental Health Foundation managers who spoke of £1.5 million pounds a year now being devoted to challenging mental health stigma and discrimination, through their joint work with See Me.

At the same conference I heard the figure of around £4500 per week for the cost of one acute inpatient bed in general hospitals.  I have made FOI requests to both NHS Tayside and NHS Fife boards, regarding the cost of an acute psychiatric inpatient bed per week.  Which is £3000/week for Tayside and around £2000-2500/week for Fife.  Therefore about 50% more is spent in general acute inpatient services compared to the psychiatric equivalent.

At this festive time of year when goodwill and hope abounds I am wondering who will be Prince Charming and rescue the "cinderella" service of mental health?  Who will bring psychiatric services up to the level of general health services in monetary terms?  So that those of us finding ourselves in the fairy tale land of make believe, or psychiatric setting, won't have to wish upon a lucky star but will be supported by a well resourced service.

I am looking forward to a Guid New Year which is better than the one we're leaving behind.  Where mental health difficulties are seen as no respecter of persons.  Where people are people whether in psychiatric settings or in general hospitals.  Where psychiatric labels lose their power and psychiatric patients gain more rights.  To speak out, to be heard and to be taken seriously.  A range of voices.  

A toast:  Here's tae us, wha's like us, damn few an' they're a' deid!

Yours sincerely,

Chrys Muirhead

mother, grandmother, writer, activist, campaigner


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