Mental health in the spotlight

Patients experiencing mental health problems in Scotland are set to benefit from a £500,000 increase in funding for NHS24.

NHS24, Scotland’s health information and self-care advice service, will use the funding to improve the services it offers to people experiencing low mood, depression and anxiety.

The number of people contacting NHS24’s dedicated mental health line, Breathing Space, has more than doubled in ten years from 38,000 in 2006 to 87,000 in 2016.

Meanwhile, a new £15m programme in England plans to train up to 1 million people in basic mental health ‘first aid’ skills.

The programme, to be delivered by Public Health England, will start next year and run for three years. It aims to improve personal resilience and help people recognise and respond effectively to signs of mental illness in others.

There will be an online learning module designed to improve people’s knowledge, skills and confidence on mental health.

The CPPE’s latest learning campaign, Mental health, ran in October and consisted of five weekly challenges. Pharmacy professionals who completed all five received a free 12-month membership to the College of Mental Health Pharmacy. Every pharmacist in England has also been mailed a learning resource: Mental health: support for people living with mental health conditions.

Nearly half of adults (7.7million) aged over 55 years say they have experienced depression and around the same number (7.3 million) have suffered with anxiety, according to new YouGov research for the charity Age UK.

The death of loved ones (36 per cent), ill health (24 per cent) and financial worries (27 per cent) are the most common triggers for mental health problems, yet more than a third (35 per cent) say they did not know where to go for help.

NHS England has published new guidance for primary healthcare professionals – Mental health in older people – which highlights symptoms often attributed to ‘old age’ but where a mental health diagnosis and follow-up is more appropriate.

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