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The Post Election Mental Healthcare Blues…or what to do when First Aid is all you’ve got.


Two articles catch my eye: one from next month’s Journal of Health Services Research and Policy and the other from today’s Perspectives in Public Health.
In the first, Yann Videau and his colleagues look at why poorer patients with mental health problems have shorter consultations with general practitioners. In a survey of 600 GPs and 713 patients, data analysis was able to show that doctors working in deprived areas gave considerably less time to mentally ill patients than GPs elsewhere.
Logical enough, we might say. After all, there are going to be more people with mental health difficulties in deprived areas than in leafy suburbs and doctors will have less time for each one.
But, if this is true, should we put up with it? Isn’t there something we can do to improve services?
Anna Zilnyk, from the Royal Society for Public Health, thinks there is: we can engage in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). Her information and opinion piece talks about the work of MHFA ( to preserve life, provide help, promote recovery, provide comfort, raise awareness and reduce discrimination.
This is basic stuff, but rarely done. As we look forward to swingeing post-election cutbacks, we’ll need some MHFA. No-one is immune from redundancy or mental illness. Maybe, if we can’t rely on our GPs for patient, considered support in the future, we ought to get better at First Aid now.

From → Health, Policy, Practice

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