Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The need for institutional change in mental health services

Another television programme, this time from Channel 4's Dispatches: Hospital undercover are they safe?underlines how current inpatient psychiatric services are not fit for purpose (see last post). The comment by the retired policewoman who worked as an undercover Health Care Assistant at the acute unit at the Linden Centre in Chelmsford for two months is pertinent:-

I found it tiring, mentally exhausting … and sad. Mentally exhausting because I’ve wanted to do the best I can while I’ve been on there. Sad because I personally think if that was any of my friends or family on one of these wards, I would not want them to be there. And that’s not a reflection on anybody in particular but just the whole set-up.

She’s right to emphasise institutional aspects about “the whole set-up”. The Essex Mental Health Independent inquiry needs to make recommendations for a complete overhaul of inpatient psychiatric services to make them more open and therapeutic. In fact, the whole of mental health services needs better direction.

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