Posted on 26th June, 2012
The Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Iain Tulley, has warmly welcomed the public discussion about mental health that has been taking place both nationally and locally during the past week or so. Iain said: “Those of us who work in mental health spend a great deal of our time trying to raise awareness about the subject and helping people to understand that it is every bit as important as physical health. We strive to eliminate the stigma that, all too often, still accompanies mental ill health and are always encouraging people to talk openly and honestly about their mental health and emotional wellbeing. We want people to be as comfortable talking about their depression or eating disorder as they would be talking about their diabetes or cancer. “During the last week we have heard politicians, including Totnes MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, talking passionately and publicly about their own personal experiences, restating the need to raise awareness and calling for adequate resources to be allocated to mental heath services. We have also had the publication of the report by Lord Layard and the Mental Health Policy Group, which identifies many issues of concern and calls for further funding – particularly around services to support people with depression and anxiety. “I am sure that I speak for everyone in mental health when I say how welcome and refreshing it is to hear prominent people talk openly, publicly and without embarrassment about their personal mental health experiences. It sets the right example and does so much to create the confidence for others to follow their lead. “If we know one thing for certain about mental illness, it is that it touches almost every one of us at some point in our lives. One in four of us is likely to experience it and a third of all families have a member suffering with mental illness. And yet, as Lord Layard’s report points out, mental health services account for only 13% of the national health budget. “We have made major strides forward in recent years in Devon and have introduced many new services. These include services for pregnant mothers, people with an eating disorder, people on the autistic spectrum, people with dementia, those with depression and anxiety, those in acute hospitals, people in the county’s three prisons and people with a personality disorder. These are all great achievements, but there is much more that we could do. “While it is very encouraging that we are now discussing issues like dementia and depression far more regularly and openly, we also need to increase public awareness about some of the other conditions that are prevalent within our communities, for example psychosis and schizophrenia. Only by increasing people’s awareness about the issues – and busting some of the myths that still surround mental illness – will we really start to move the debate forward and give mental health the profile and recognition that it needs and deserves.” For further information contact Peter Leggatt on 01392 208693.