Peer Support Group Facilitation training course

This is a free course facilitated by Jessica Pons for Manchester Mind
3rd, 10th and 12th October, online 12.30-5.30pm

Outline:

  • What is Peer Support? – Intentional Peer Support Ethos & Values
  • An Introduction to Models of Distress
  • Sharing your Experience in a Trauma-Informed way
  • Facilitation of a Peer Support Group (and how it differs to other types of groups)
  • Launching & Sustaining a Group

It’s experiential so although there are slides, we’ll have lots of discussions with the aim of developing self-reflective skills throughout. If you want to know more, please email me and I can let you know how I facilitate it.

‘The training was both eye opening and informative, it has really given me food for thought and I will recommend this training to everyone.’
‘I’ll take away with me how excited I am to have joined such a group of wonderful people, how I want to grow as a peer support facilitator in the coming years and a lot of this is down to my own confidence’

Link to find out more and sign up here

The link between mental health and social conditions

Readers and healthcare professionals respond to Dr Sanah Ahsan’s article which argued that for too long, the dominant mental health narrative has located problems in individuals, and not in social injustice or inequality.

For too long, the dominant narrative locates problems in individuals, medicalises them and leaves people feeling helpless, ill and stigmatised. It is as though they are defective, and not positive and resilient enough. This lie affects people from all walks of life, but most severely those who are already disfranchised through poverty and inequality.

See full article here

Source: The Guardian, 8th September 2022

Review into deaths of three young people at Prestwich Hospital will be ‘ready’ this month

The full report would be available for the coroner to read ‘on or around September 30’. It will be not be published for external viewing. 

Prestwich Hospital (Image: Manchester Evening News)

An independent review into the deaths of three young people at the same mental health unit will be ‘ready’ this month, an inquest has heard. Rowan Thompson, 18, died while a patient at Prestwich Hospital, Bury, in October 2020, followed by Charlie Millers, 17, in December that year, and Ania Sohail, 21, in June last year. 

Earlier this year, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), which runs the hospital, commissioned an ‘external report’ into the deaths. Today (Tuesday), a pre-inquest hearing into the death of Rowan – who used the pronoun ‘they’ – heard that the full report would be available for the coroner to read ‘on or around September 30’.

It will be not be published for external viewing. 

Sitting at Rochdale Coroners’ Court, senior coroner Joanne Kearsley ordered that a copy of the review – authored by consultant psychiatrist Dr Lisa Rippon – be sent to her by September 24. A full inquest into Rowan’s death is due to begin next month.

The hearing was also told that a blood test sample processed on October 2, 2020, showed Rowan was suffering from ‘severe hyperkalemia’ – a condition in which a person has too low a concentration of potassium in their blood. They died the following day.

Ms Kearsley said the inquest would look into Rowan’s treatment plan and what advice doctors gave to GMMH regarding emergency treatment. It will also look into the impact of the drug flucloxacillin, which Rowan was given just hours before their death.

At a previous hearing, a lawyer representing Rowan’s family revealed they had a number of concerns regarding Rowan’s treatment while a patient on the Gardener Unit at Prestwich Hospital. They claimed there were ‘systemic issues regarding observation of patients on the unit’, and that the campaign group Inquest had expressed concerns following a number of deaths, including Rowan’s.

The inquest into Rowan’s death will be heard by a jury and is due to begin on October 24. A pre-inquest review into the death of Ania Sohail is due to take place on Friday (September 9) while an inquest into the death of Charlie Millers has been scheduled for January.

Full story here.

Source: Manchester Evening News, 7th September 2022

I’m a psychologist – and I believe we’ve been told devastating lies about mental health

We are living, we’re told, through a “mental health crisis”. Mental health services cannot cope with the explosion of demand over the past two years: 1.6 million people are on waiting lists, while another 8 million need help but can’t even get on these lists. Even children are showing up at A&E in despair, wanting to die.

But there is another way to see this crisis – one that doesn’t place it firmly in the realm of the medical system. Doesn’t it make sense that so many of us are suffering? Of course it does: we are living in a traumatising and uncertain world. The climate is breaking down, we’re trying to stay on top of rising living costs, still weighted with grief, contagion and isolation, while revelations about the police murdering women and strip-searching children shatter our faith in those who are supposed to protect us.

As a clinical psychologist who has been working in NHS services for a decade, I’ve seen first hand how we are failing people by locating their problems within them as some kind of mental disorder or psychological issue, and thereby depoliticising their distress. Will six sessions of CBT, designed to target “unhelpful” thinking styles, really be effective for someone who doesn’t know how they’re going to feed their family for another week? Antidepressants aren’t going to eradicate the relentless racial trauma a black man is surviving in a hostile workplace, and branding people who are enduring sexual violence with a psychiatric disorder (in a world where two women a week are murdered in their own home) does nothing to keep them safe. Unsurprisingly, mindfulness isn’t helping children who are navigating poverty, peer pressure and competitive exam-driven school conditions, where bullying and social media harm are rife.

If a plant were wilting we wouldn’t diagnose it with “wilting-plant-syndrome” – we would change its conditions. Yet when humans are suffering under unliveable conditions, we’re told something is wrong with us, and expected to keep pushing through. To keep working and producing, without acknowledging our hurt.

In efforts to destigmatise mental distress, “mental illness” is framed as an “illness like any other” – rooted in supposedly flawed brain chemistry. In reality, recent research concluded that depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain. Ironically, suggesting we have a broken brain for life increases stigma and disempowerment. What’s most devastating about this myth is that the problem and the solution are positioned in the person, distracting us from the environments that cause our distress.

See full article here

Source: The Guardian, 6th September 2022

Union launches campaign for safe staffing at Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust after poor CQC report

The watchdog recently rated some of the city-region’s community mental health teams as ‘inadequate’, which the trade union says the problems stem from a lack of staff.

A leading trade union has launched a campaign for safe staffing levels at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) following the latest ruling by the watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently rated some of the community mental health teams in the city-region as “inadequate”.

Unison says it was not surprised by the downgrading and expected more services to struggle to maintain their ratings, saying the problems at the trust stem from a chronic lack of staff.

It has now launched a campaign to get employee numbers back up to safe levels.

What is Unison doing at Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust?

Unison says the CQC came to inspect the trust after whistleblowers raised concerns about staffing levels at GMMH.

The trade union says it was concerned about access to safe care when a new model was brought in across all of Manchester’s community mental health teams in 2018.

Unison feared staff would be overwhelmed but said its worries were not responded to by the trust’s management.

The trade union says that since then staff who did not feel safe at work have left en masse and hit out at the trust’s bosses, saying they should have listened to employees and union representatives over the past five years since GMMH was formed.

Unison says it is now launching a campaign to bring back safe staffing levels across mental health services in Greater Manchester and also rejected any suggestion that issues around employee numbers could be blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unison regional organiser Lyndsey Marchant said: “We have been raising concerns about the serious lack of staff in many of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust in-patient and community teams for some time.

“We have said this puts Unison members at risk of both physical harm and prolonged mental distress. It also means staff cannot provide a safe and timely service for our service users, so services are unsafe for them too.

“We will continue to talk with senior managers to try to resolve the chronic lack of staff.

“We feel as though the trust’s unwillingness to address our concerns has contributed to this announcement from the CQC. GMMH have still not provided a plan to the unions and did not communicate with their unions about the CQC visit or the warning.

“The trust needs more money from government to put this right. This is why we’re launching a Safe Staffing Campaign to push for better funded and properly staffed mental health services.

“We will actively work with service users, their families, friends, other trade unionists, NHS campaigners, MPs and councillors where we can, to make mental health services better. “

Responding to the CQC’s report Deborah Partington, chief operating officer at GMMH, said: “We acknowledge the findings of the CQC’s inspection of two of our Central Manchester-based community mental health teams and will address the concerns within their report.

“Before the inspection, we were aware of the challenges faced by Central Manchester’s mental health teams and there are already plans in place to improve waiting times for service users.

“In line with the national picture, recruitment of registered professionals for community mental health teams is increasingly difficult and this inevitably puts pressure on the capacity of services. Therefore, we are looking at ways to make roles attractive for newly-qualified and experienced staff to want to join our teams, including supporting roles.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of our communities which has led to an increase in demand for our services and we are also seeing higher levels of mental illness which is requiring more intensive care and support.

“However, we have a process whereby we review, prioritise and monitor individuals who are waiting for assessment and treatment, with face to face appointments for those who are in the most urgent need of support.

“We are also making better use of technology and using a management and supervision tool which helps mental health professionals review key data to identify the risks of a service user going into a crisis, which is vital when working with sizeable caseloads.

“Our staff have had a very challenging two years and therefore we are delivering projects on staff health and wellbeing to support those who are at work to remain well and to help those who are off sick to return when they are recovered, as safely as possible.

“Along with our partners, we will continue to work as hard as we can to improve our services for those who need us, and we would like to reassure people that service users in our care are safe.

“We monitor the safety and risk of service users very carefully and prioritise those who need urgent help or a safeguarding risk. There are processes in place for service users to contact our teams when they need to, as well as a 24/7 helpline for anyone in an immediate mental health crisis.”

In response to the union’s campaign, a trust spokesperson added: “The trust held discussions with unions in the days leading up to publication of the CQC report.

“We have had longstanding engagement with union representatives and will continue to seek to work together with them, in order to address the issues we face, in a spirit of openness and transparency.”

The CQC’s latest report on some of the trust’s community mental health teams working with adults found there were not enough staff to meet the needs of the service, workloads were too high and employees could not see patients frequently enough to keep them safe.

There were concerns about waiting times and lack of contact and vacancy rates were high.

Patients and carers were also struggling to get in touch with staff about care and treatment, meaning it was difficult for the trust to be informed about a patient’s mental health condition deteriorating or for loved ones to seek support if a patient was in crisis.

Risk assessments were not always done and care plans were not always up to date.

The CQC issued the trust with a warning notice as it believes the quality of health care provided requires significant improvement.

See full story here

Source: Manchester World, 1st July 2022

Man shouting he would kill himself told ‘go to McDonald’s’ by MRI security staff moments before he was hit by a taxi, inquest hears

A man was told to ‘get a coffee from McDonalds’ after attempting to take his life after being discharged from Manchester Royal Infirmary, an inquest has heard. Daniel Kirton, 35, told hospital security staff “I am going to run in front of a car. Watch. Watch” minutes before lying down and ‘rolling’ into the road and being struck by a taxi.

Daniel tragically died following the collision, which occurred after he had attempted to take his own life on hospital grounds after he was discharged by mental health practitioners. He had attended Manchester Royal Infirmary’s emergency department earlier that afternoon, December 3 2020, and was assessed by staff from the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, but deemed fit to be released.

After getting a call about an ‘aggressive’ male, security officers said they were instructed to ‘keep an eye’ on Daniel, before he was later escorted out of the hospital and into the grounds outside. Continuing to give evidence on the second day of the inquest, security officers based at the hospital reiterated they had no training specifically relating to dealing with mental health issues and that they felt ‘powerless’ as Daniel threatened to take his own life.

The court also heard that one member of security thought Daniel was initially just ‘seeking attention’ and that they told him to ‘go to McDonald’s’ a short walk away, to ‘get a coffee’ and ‘wait until the next day’.

“I first became aware of him (Daniel) just after 11 o’clock at night. We were approached by the mental health staff to keep an eye on the patient and make sure he wasn’t coming back because he had been discharged.” Mr Piotr Kuchcinski, a Sodexo security officer based at the hospital, told the court.

He added he had not been given any information about Daniel’s clinical history at the time. In his statement to the police, the security officer said he was told by hospital staff that someone had confiscated a razor blade from Daniel earlier in the day.

After being discharged, the court heard how Daniel, known as Danny to family and friends, was ‘dismissed’ by mental health staff who told him he would receive a home visit the following day. It was heard he was told by staff that there ‘was help available’ but ‘not in A&E’.

“I swear to god I am going to run in front of a car now”

In a transcript of bodycam footage read out in court, Daniel told security officers “I have asked for help”, “It’s over tonight for me, I’m done. I’m done” and added: “I told you if they weren’t going to help me I was going to kill myself. When I say something I mean it.”

Mr Kuchcinski then told him: “Listen, the problem is, you are in the wrong place.” Daniel also told security officers: “I’m going to run in front of a car. Watch, watch. I swear to god I’m going to run in front of a car now”.

“He had been discharged,” Mr Kuchcinski told the court, “My understanding was they were not going to bring him back and talk to him anymore. He was shouting the whole time that he was going to kill himself.”

The court heard that the police were not called at the time because Daniel was only being verbally and not physically aggressive. Mr Kuchcinski added “I felt powerless. I had no power at all.”

Security officer told Daniel to ‘go to McDonalds’ and ‘stay in a Travelodge overnight’

Joseph Lartey, another security officer at the hospital said Daniel needed to be escorted off the premises after he had been discharged. He said he heard ‘shouting’ and ‘chairs moving’ from a side room in the department at around 11pm.

Upon going to see what was happening, he saw two mental health practitioners leave the room, who said they were going to discharge Daniel because his ‘behaviour was getting worse’ and that security was asked to ‘keep an eye’ on him.

“I saw Daniel in the room, I could see he was very agitated,” Mr Lartey told the court. “In that moment, I was trying to calm him down and he told me he came for help and they didn’t want to give it to him.”

As Daniel left the room, Mr Lartey said he asked the control room to keep the cameras on him because he wanted to ‘monitor his movements,’ and that he was concerned about him. The court heard bodycam footage recorded Daniel saying “I want to be dead” to which Mr Lartey responded “Alright, no problem.”

When asked about that specific response by coroner Zak Golombek, Mr Lartey said: “I did my best to talk to him but he just kept saying it. I didn’t mean he should go ahead and do anything like that.”

Moments later, Mr Lartey then urged his security officer colleague Mr Kuchcinski to go back inside the hospital with him so that Daniel would ‘stop his foolishness’. He told the court: “At that point, I thought he was seeking attention.”

Following Daniel’s attempt to take his own life outside, he then attempted to try and climb a ladder close to the entrance to the emergency department but was pulled down by security officers. He later held a metal barrier over his head.

The inquest will last five days at Manchester Coroner’s Court (Image: MEN Media)
Mr Lartey added that he ‘told him (Daniel) to go to McDonalds’ a short walk away and to ‘buy himself a coffee’, to ‘wait until the next day’ and use his money to book himself into a nearby Travelodge overnight.

It was at around 11.37pm that same evening that Daniel walked out of the hospital grounds before lying down and ‘rolling’ into the road, where he was struck by a taxi on Upper Brook Street. He was pronounced dead the following morning at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Daniel’s medical cause of death was noted as 1A chest injuries. The inquest, set to last the entire week before area coroner Zak Golombek, is still to hear from mental health clinicians Godfrey Chivea and Samina Kousar along with doctors, detectives from Greater Manchester Police who investigated following the collision and further R23 evidence.

Read full story here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 22nd August 2022

Moving Beyond Myth: A Postmortem Analysis of Chemical Imbalances and Antidepressant Efficacy

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 AT 6 PM – 7:30 PM UTC+01

Go here for more information and view discussion

“For decades, we’ve been told by health, media, and governmental authorities that depression is caused by a lack of serotonin in the brain and can be effectively treated with antidepressant drugs. Today, millions of people around the world believe in the veracity of this clear, compelling story: surveys conducted in the West have found that 85-90% of people believe in the chemical imbalance theory of depression. In America, alone, one in seven people is on an antidepressant. Most antidepressant users have been on them for more than two years.

If this story was true, rates of depression diagnoses would have presumably dropped over the years. But they haven’t, and recent research findings shed light on why this is the case: the notion that depression is a matter of imbalanced chemicals with an effective pharmaceutical intervention is mythology. What does this mean for us, individually and collectively, in our arduous human quest to resolve emotional pain? And what does it mean for the psychiatric profession, and for the research industry, as well, that this mythology was propagated for decades without scientific evidence, underlying countless millions of individual decisions to prescribe or take these drugs?

Join Laura Delano as she facilitates an ICI Roundtable Discussion with a few of the authors behind this recent research: Professor Joanna Moncrieff and Dr. Mark Horowitz, who will discuss their co-authored systematic umbrella review on the serotonin theory of depression; and Professor Irving Kirsch, who will discuss his co-authored comprehensive data analysis of antidepressant efficacy trials. They’ll outline what they found in their respective analyses, discuss possible limitations to the data they analyzed, chat about the criticism and resistance they’ve encountered, and talk candidly about what their findings suggest regarding where we all might go from here.”

Prestwich Hospital mental health service’s safety rated ‘inadequate’

An NHS Trust based in Prestwich does not have enough staff to keep patients safe according to an independent review by the health and social care watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted a focused inspection of Greater Manchester NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust’s adult mental health services in April.

The inspection was carried out at the trust, based at Prestwich Hospital, after the CQC received concerning information about the safety and quality of the services provided.

The inspection reviewed the safety of the trusts’s community-based mental health services of adults of working age in April and concluded the service’s provision in this area was “inadequate”.

The inspection concluded safety standards at the service had deteriorated after a previous inspection of community-based mental health services for adults in 2019, which gave safety in this area a rating of “requires improvement”.

Safety is one five areas in which services can be assessed, and the trust currently holds an overall rating of “good” in every area except its safety.

The CQC’s report, published in June, says “the service did not have enough care coordinators and support staff to keep patients safe.”

It added: “The staffing levels did not meet the high demand for the service.

“This meant that there was a significant waiting time for initial assessment and to be allocated to a care coordinator.”

Inspectors also found the service had high vacancy rates with high levels of sickness among staff, many of whom managers say were away due in part to work-related illnesses.

The report concluded that referrals, including urgent referrals, were not always seen promptly and the service often missed the 21-day routine referral target set by the Manchester Heath and Care Commissioning.

However, inspectors noted the percentage of discharged inpatients staff followed-up with within 72 hours was 82 per cent, which exceeded the trust target of 80 per cent.

The CQC has told the trust it must ensure all patients have an up to date risk assessment and must ensure that systems and processes are in place to ensure safeguarding alerts are acted upon promptly.

It has also recommended the hospital consider a staffing establishment review to ensure demand meets capacity.

Deborah Partington, chief operating officer at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We acknowledge the findings of the CQC’s inspection of two of our Central Manchester-based community mental health teams and will address the concerns within their report.

“Before the inspection, we were aware of the challenges faced by Central Manchester’s mental health teams and there are already plans in place to improve waiting times for service users.

“In line with the national picture, recruitment of registered professionals for community mental health teams is increasingly difficult and this inevitably puts pressure on the capacity of services.

“Therefore, we are looking at ways to make roles attractive for newly-qualified and experienced staff to want to join our teams, including supporting roles.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health of our communities which has led to an increase in demand for our services and we are also seeing higher levels of mental illness which is requiring more intensive care and support.

“However, we have a process whereby we review, prioritise and monitor individuals who are waiting for assessment and treatment, with face to face appointments for those who are in the most urgent need of support.

“We are also making better use of technology and using a management and supervision tool which helps mental health professionals review key data to identify the risks of a service user going into a crisis, which is vital when working with sizeable caseloads.

“Our staff have had a very challenging two years and therefore we are delivering projects on staff health and wellbeing to support those who are at work to remain well and to help those who are off sick to return when they are recovered, as safely as possible.

“Along with our partners, we will continue to work as hard as we can to improve our services for those who need us, and we would like to reassure people that service users in our care are safe.

“We monitor the safety and risk of service users very carefully and prioritise those who need urgent help or a safeguarding risk.

“There are processes in place for service users to contact our teams when they need to, as well as a 24/7 helpline for anyone in an immediate mental health crisis.”

Source: Bury Times, 26th July 2022

Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created Our Mental Health Crisis’

Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created Our Mental Health Crisis by James Davies (2022)

You can purchase the book here

Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created Our Mental Health Crisis is a provocative and shocking look at how western society is misunderstanding and mistreating mental health problems, at the depoliticization of distress and just how damaging the privileging of drug treatments for economic and political reasons has been.

In Britain alone, more than 20% of the adult population take a psychiatric drug in any one year. This is an increase of over 500% since 1980 and the numbers continue to grow. Yet, despite this prescription epidemic, levels of distress of all types have increased. Using a wealth of studies, interviews with experts, and detailed analysis, Dr James Davies argues that this is because we have fundamentally mischaracterised the problem. Rather than viewing most mental distress as an understandable reaction to wider societal problems, we have embraced a medical model which situates the problem solely within the sufferer and their brain.

Urgent and persuasive, Sedated systematically examines why this individualistic view of ‘mental illness’ has been promoted by successive governments and big business – and why it is so misplaced and dangerous.

Endorsements

A wonderful, moving and truly life-changing book. Sedated is an urgent intervention for post-pandemic society, written with expertise and clarity. Warning: it will cause irritation to powerful interests who fear us all becoming better informed about the root causes of so much human suffering. ― Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, former Director of Liberty 

James Davies is one of the most important voices on mental health in the world. This is a beautiful and deeply sane book. Everyone who’s suffering – and wants to know how to make it stop – should read it right away. ― Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections 

In this game-changing polemic, James Davies leaves us in no doubt: to tackle the mental health crisis we need major social and economic reform. ― Nathan Filer, author of This Book will Change Your Mind about Mental Health

Reviews

Sedated is a polemic of great clarity that will make you feel at once angry and reassured. ― New Statesman

A wonderful, moving and truly life-changing book. Sedated is an urgent intervention for post-pandemic society, written with expertise and clarity. Warning: it will cause irritation to powerful interests who fear us all becoming better informed about the root causes of so much human suffering. ― Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, former Director of Liberty

James Davies is one of the most important voices on mental health in the world. This is a beautiful and deeply sane book. Everyone who’s suffering – and wants to know how to make it stop – should read it right away. ― Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections

An intelligent and powerfully argued book… a rich seam of empathy runs through Davies’s narrative. ― The Herald

Essential and Enlightening… Davies shows how we can re-connect our personal troubles to our political contexts, and in doing so, find better ways forward ― Lucy Johnstone, consultant clinical psychologist

In this game-changing polemic, James Davies leaves us in no doubt: to tackle the mental health crisis we need major social and economic reform. ― Nathan Filer, author of This Book will Change Your Mind about Mental Health

A marvellous book. Critics of traditional psychiatry will relish its clear-sighted exposure of a failing system. Defenders of traditional psychiatry may well be infuriated. But everyone should read it. ― Peter Kinderman, professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool

£2bn cost of mental ill health in the North of England

A report out by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and northern National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaborations (NIHR ARCs), with contributions from University of Manchester researchers, shows that a parallel pandemic of mental ill health has hit the North of England with a £2bn cost to the country at the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental health in England was hit badly over the course of the pandemic. But people in the North performed significantly worse in their mental health outcomes compared to those in the rest of the country.

  • People in the North under 35 were more likely to have developed a psychiatric disorder over the course of the pandemic, an increase of 2.5% compared to a reduction of 1.3% in rest of England.
  • There was a 12% increase in the numbers of anti-depressants prescribed during the pandemic in the North. During the pandemic, people living in the North were prescribed more anti-depressants proportionately than those in the rest of England (5.3 compared to 4.3).
  • Before the-pandemic, people from ethnic minorities and those from a white British background had similar mental health scores, Over the pandemic people from ethnic minorities had a larger fall in their average mental health (1.63 points compared to 0.87) and this was greater for those of an ethnic minority in the North (a fall of 2.34 compared to 1.45 for the rest of England).
  • ·Women from ethnic minorities in the North had the worst mental health in the country. Their mental health scores fell by 10% at the start of the pandemic and their scores were 4% lower throughout the pandemic.
  • Mental health fell equally in the North and the rest of the country during the pandemic (5% decrease), but it recovered more quickly in the rest of the country (to 1.3% decrease) than in the North (2%decrease).
  • The report conservatively estimates the reductions in mental health in the North during the two years of the pandemic have cost the UK economy £2bn in lost economic productivity. This is £2bn more which has been lost than if the North had suffered the same mental health outcomes as the rest of the country.
  • The gap between the lowest and highest earners increased during the pandemic and remains large.

Report co-author Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health at Newcastle University, said: “These findings reiterate that the pandemic has been very unequal. People in our most deprived communities have suffered most, in terms of death rates, dying younger and in on going ill-health such as long covid. These health inequalities reflect long-term inequalities in the social determinants of health, how we live, work and age.”

Dr Luke Munford, Senior Lecturer in Health Economics at the University of Manchester and NIHR ARC Greater Manchester, who also co-authored the report, said: “Our mental health is important for us as individuals but is also important to our society. We have shown, again, that the pandemic was not equal – people in the North of England fared worse. We need to act urgently to address this or these unfair inequalities will grow and as already hard hit individuals and us as a society will unfairly suffer.”

The report urges that more needs to be done to address inequalities in mental health in the North, if ‘levelling up’ is to be achieved.

Among its key recommendations, the report’s authors are calling for an increase in NHS and local authority resources and service provision for mental health in the North, along with an increase to the existing NHS health inequalities weighting within the NHS funding formula.

Our mental health is important for us as individuals but is also important to our society. We have shown, again, that the pandemic was not equal – people in the North of England fared worse. We need to act urgently to address this or these unfair inequalities will grow and as already hard hit individuals and us as a society will unfairly suffer
 

Dr Luke Munford

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Hannah Davies, Health Inequalities Lead at the NHSA and report co-author, said: “Increased deprivation in the North of England has added to a decline in mental health in the North of England over the course of the pandemic.

“The reasons for this are many: increased time spent in lockdowns, the type of work people in the North do but the driving factor is poverty.

“To reverse these outcomes immediate action should be taken to provide funds to mental health suppliers proportionate to the need in those areas and measure to reduce deprivation – particularly as the cost of living crisis tightens its grip further on the most vulnerable.”

The report is backed by the NHSA’s mental health trust members: Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust.

Kathryn Singh, Chief Executive of RDaSH, said: “Our work at RDaSH is rooted in our communities and our teams have huge experience of how much impact COVID-19 has had on the mental health of those communities – the parallel pandemic. Our experience on the ground is very much borne out by the findings of report, where levels of deprivation were already high, and where the pandemic has exacerbated all the trends that were already in place.

“But I think we are in a good position to support the vital recommendations of this report, and I’m hopeful we can play our part in the innovation and vital investment needed into mental health in communities across the North, so that they can play their full part in the UK’s economy.”

Brent Kilmurray, Chief Executive of TEWV, said: “During the pandemic we saw not only an increase in demand for our services, but an increase in acuity – with people presenting to us with more severe mental health conditions.

“We provide services in some areas of very high deprivation, and we’re working with partners from all sectors across our region to find new ways to support these communities with their mental health. Community mental health transformation is hugely important and will help to provide more joined-up care, taking a person-centred approach to find new ways to support people with mental health issues.

“We know the impact that COVID-19 has had on people’s mental health and if you feel your mental health is being affected, please seek help and support as soon as possible.”

The NHSA convenes the Northern Mental Health Innovation Network, which brings together world class clinical, academic and industry experts across the North of England and showcases the North’s excellence in the field of mental health.

Source: University of Manchester, 25/07/2022