Rethink: Mental health patients must have their voices heard

Tuesday 17 September 2013 – In response to the release of a national survey of people who use community mental health services in England by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) today, Paul Jenkins, CEO of the charity Rethink Mental Illness said:

“Sadly, these findings do not come as a surprise. Last year, our Schizophrenia Commission highlighted many of the same issues. People with a mental illness are much more likely to respond to treatment if they have actively been involved in deciding what that treatment should be. As far as possible, patients should act as partners to make joint decisions with health professionals, but this just isn’t happening often enough.

“It’s also very worrying that so many patients aren’t being told about the potential side-effects of medication. Antipsychotics can cause some very serious side effects such as rapid weight gain and increased risk of heart problems and diabetes. It’s therefore vital that people taking these medications are well aware of the risks, so they can make an informed decision and recognise the early warning signs if they are becoming unwell.

“While we welcome the fact that the CQC is gathering the views of mental health patients in the community, it is scandalous that  this data is not yet being collected about mental health patients in hospital. This means that some of the most vulnerable NHS patients aren’t being given a voice. We think all patients, whether they are in hospital for a broken leg or bipolar disorder, must be listened to.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact Rachel Hobbs (nee Whitehead) Media Manager for Rethink Mental Illness on 0207 840 3138

Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.

We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

For more information go to www.rethink.org

Rachel Hobbs
News and Media Manager, Rethink Mental Illness
0207 840 3138
Tweet me! @Rachel_Rethink

For information on our email policy, including confidentiality and viruses, visit http://www.rethink.org/emailpolicy

Rethink Mental Illness is the operating name of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England Number 1227970. Registered charity no. 271028. Registered Office 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP.