Treat Depression with Exercise, Report Urges

A new report published by the Mental Health Foundation says GPs should be offering exercise on prescription to all patients with depression.

The report finds that a supervised programme of exercise on prescription can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild or moderate depression – but that GPs are still turning to antidepressants as their first-line treatment due to a perceived lack of available alternatives. Many of the GPs surveyed for the report do not believe exercise is an effective treatment, despite advice from the Chief Medical Officer as well as a substantial weight of evidence…

Interview: Matthew Butcher

Matthew Butcher is a former service user with experience of being sectioned against his will and of battling against the decisions of his doctors. Now a Trustee of mental health charity Hafal, we talk to him about his personal experience of illness and his aims in his new role…

Joint Committee Report on Draft Mental Health Bill published

The Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill has today published its report on the Draft Mental Health Bill.

Key findings are:

the Bill should proceed – but only with significant amendments

there’s too much focus placed on protecting the public from a small minority of people with a mental illness

the powers granted in the current Draft could potentially be used as the equivalent of a mental health ASBO – enforcing treatment on people who might only be a ‘nuisance’

compulsory treatment should be used only where there is no other alternative and where it has therapeutic benefit

people who can’t benefit from treatment should be dealt with by separate legislation (for example people with an untreatable “personality disorder”)

treatment in the community should be more restricted than under current proposals

there should be reciprocal rights to treatment including the right to assessment

the law should play a part in improving services and combating stigma
fundamental principles should be set out at the start of the Bill.

Amendments to Mental Capacity Bill Welcomed

The Making Decisions Alliance, a coalition of leading UK charities including Age Concern, Rethink, Mind, the Mental Health Foundation and Carers UK, has welcomed amendments to the Mental Capacity Bill which will give greater power to those who have a limited capacity to make decisions…

Healthcare Investigation launched

The Disability Rights Commission has launched a formal investigation into the health care received by people with long term mental illness and people with learning disabilities…

New Research Reveals High Suicide Rate for Wales

Newly released data from the Office for National statistics shows that the suicide rate in Wales is higher than in any of the England regions.

Whilst the adult suicide rate per 100,000 population in 2003 was 11.4 for England and Wales as a whole, the rate for Wales alone was 13.9. The rate of male suicide in Wales per 100,000 population was 22.5, compared to 17.6 for England and Wales combined; the rate for Women in Wales was 5.5 per 100,000 population, compared to 5.7 overall…

Interview: Penny Roberts, Mental Health Liaison Officer for the South Wales Police

I was appointed as Force Mental Health Liaison Officer in July of 2004. Up until that time I was carrying out duties as a community beat officer and my knowledge of mental health issues was much the same as many other beat officers – very basic! I certainly did not realise the prevalence of mental illness and how it can affect any one of us at any time…”

Interview: Maria Hayes

Maria Hayes devises and delivers art workshops which have a theraputic value, and she recently ran successful sessions at the Annual Conference of Hafal, Wales’ principal organization working for people with severe mental illness. We talk to her about the benefits of being creative…