10 October 2023
Nerve Tumours UK has joined over 50 charities in writing to Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, about how people affected by a neurological condition struggle to access mental health services.
The letter, co-ordinated by the Huntington's Disease Association, has been issued on behalf of the countersigning charities, all members of the Neurological Alliance.
The letter to the Secretary of State appeals for steps to be taken to support individuals and families suffering from mental health issues, as a result of being affected by a lifelong genetic or neurological condition.
The letter calls for:
- reviewed eligibility criteria for NHS Mental Health Trusts
- specialist training and support for clinicians
- more specialist mental health staff and services for people living with neurological conditions.
The theme of today, World Mental Health Day, is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’.
“However, this right is being denied to some because of the type of condition they live with,” says the letter.
One in six people in the UK live with a neurological condition, and more than 81 per cent of people said their condition affected their mental wellbeing, a recent survey by the Neurological Alliance revealed.
“Despite this commonality, many are being denied access to mental health services and this is happening across the country,” the letter further states.
Even if a person with a neurological condition experiences common mental health issues – such as anxiety or depression – clinicians may not refer them for mental health services simply because of the nature of their illness and some who are referred, are refused access.
In the same survey, 60 per cent of respondents said their mental wellbeing had not been asked about by a health or social care professional within the last three years.