I recently found a petition from a fellow blogger asking the government to open psychiatric wards specifically for those aged between 18 and 30. Don’t run away just yet, I’m going to explain why you should support the petition and spread the word.
For those who do not understand how mental health services work in the UK, I will briefly explain. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) are the mental health service who take care of those under the age of 18 providing specialist care for those who need it including therapy, medication and special wards. Patients over the age of 18 will be transferred to the regular mental health services which are designed to take care of everyone over the age of 18, but many people criticise it for being better prepared for those who are middle-aged or older.
If you are aged around 18 and are being treated by CAMHS it is likely that you will move onto the adult mental health services at some point. The transition is very large, moving from facilities that target your age group to facilities that target a wider but older age group (they don’t really target those under 25). However the annual MHMDS report for England published last month found that of the 105,270 patients admitted to hospital, 19.6% of them were under the age of 30. And that does not include all of the under 18’s treated by CAMHS! So we could assume that 19.6% of patients are being treated in facilities that will not give them the full benefit of care expected, and that doesn’t seem right!
Patients can be admitted to hospital voluntarily or involuntarily. Those who enter involuntarily are subject to the Mental Health Act, and are admitted because they pose a danger to themselves or the public. The age group where those admitted were most likely to be subject to the Mental Health Act was 20-29. Just another reason we need to care for this age group. I could sit here all day and throw facts from the report at you, but please read these comments on the petition from some people who have signed it:
“Once a person turns 18 they are admitted to wards that are used to dealing with adults around the age of 40-60 years old, the activities are often gardening or knitting/sowing. There is no support for young people who may be studying A levels, college courses or at university. Often people are in these wards for weeks or months, it can be very boring and there is little to do.”
“I completely second this. A person is not completely different, needing completely different support the day before and the day after they are 18. The transition between services is horrific.”
“I have 2 children who are still in the mental health system, the second is moving over to adult services currently and it is completely inadequate to meet his needs”
I must say this all the time but I do not want to make my posts too long. I’ve presented several facts that should hopefully convince you to sign the petition. You can read the blog post of Claire who started the petition, or look at the MHMDS report for some more statistics. Depending on the reaction and comments on this post I may do a follow-up post. I would like to encourage everyone to sign and share the petition, I hope we can improve the care of those in need.