Ahead of this year’s World Mental Health Day, Christine Husbands, managing director, RedArc, comments that before support for mental health is implemented, there needs to be awareness of how it can fall short. She says:
‘Mental health is a multi-faceted area of health and wellbeing, and by its nature that calls for a multi-faceted approach if the support is going to be effective. The default option for many may be to offer access to counselling, but this isn’t going to be right for everyone, and if that’s all that’s offered, it may well fall short.
‘Mental health issues span a vast array of areas, including stress and anxiety, chronic depression, psychosis, PTSD, and drug and alcohol abuse. A one-size-fits-all approach to offering support isn’t good enough, people need specialist support if they’re really going to be helped.
‘When people need help, their specific situation needs to be assessed, ideally by a specialist in mental health. They then need to be directed to the most appropriate pathway for them
‘Support must be long-term. Many issues can’t be solved quickly, and people can be left high and dry if there no suitable therapy available and no specialist support offered.
‘Those looking to implement support need to be aware of any exclusions in what they want to offer. We believe that no mental health condition should be excluded, everyone should be able to access support, whatever their mental health concern.
‘While some may need more significant therapy, which may be available from other areas such as via private healthcare, many more will need to use the NHS. It’s equally important that while they wait, that they have specialist support in the meantime. And if they do use the NHS, that they have help in navigating it so they can get the most appropriate help for them.
‘It is very positive that support for mental health is becoming more widespread, but it’s vital that it’s good quality support. In practice we believe it needs to be comprehensive and provided by specialists; it shouldn’t be confined to a strict timeframe and it shouldn’t exclude conditions. Before mental health support is implemented, we’d urge everyone to be clear about the detail, or they may find that what they offer falls short.’