Royal College of Psychiatrists report shows continued need for NHS to improve mental health services

It is of great concern that the Royal College of Psychiatrists have this morning come out and said that poor treatment and aftercare for people who self-harm or attempt suicide is putting their lives at risk.

According to the Royal College, hospital admissions due to self-harming by those under the age of 30 have more than doubled in the last 10 years, while a House of Commons Health Committee report shows that many A&E patients who receive treatment after self-harming do not receive a full psychosocial assessment from a mental health professional to assess their level of suicide risk, with one gentleman quoted in the BBC report stating that he didn’t receive aftercare until 18 months after he had been admitted to hospital while another quoted in the BBC’s report stating that he only found out eight weeks after going to his GP for a referral that counselling services were not available in his area.

In addition, we have previously also written about the need for the NHS to improve its Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) too following a report that GPs were encouraging parents to seek private sector mental health care services for their children.

Given these people are clearly in a vulnerable mental state, it is not acceptable that those in need of support are essentially being left to fend for themselves. The ideas of the British stiff upper lip and that we are able to Keep Calm and Carry On through adversity is all well and good, but that is no excuse for failing to provide support to someone when they clearly need it.

Suicide rates in the UK rose for the first time since 2013 according to the latest available figures too. Therefore, it is vitally important that we get this right. Not to put too fine a point on this, but this is one of those scenarios where it really is literally a case of life and death.

A suicide is not simply about the one person taking their own life either; it can also have far-reaching effects of the people in their lives too. For example, the ITV show Love Island has been in the headlines again this week following the tragic suicide of its former presenter Caroline Flack. Previously, it was found that, following the suicide of former contestant Sophie Gradon in 2018, her boyfriend, Aaron Armstrong, then went on to kill himself too. Clearly then, suicide is something that understandably has a devastating impact of those who surround a person who has taken their own life. We sincerely hope then that Miss Flack’s friends and family are receiving all the support they need currently.

If you are struggling with your mental health, you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123 in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Lines are open 24/7.