Report pushes for more holistic approach to mental health care

A newly released report, supported by Hafal, Sane and the Royal College of Nursing, suggests that mental health care does not take the holistic approach needed to allow patients to fully recover.

Running on Empty, launched in Wales at the National Assembly on Wednesday 29 June, emphasises the physical health needs of people with mental illness. The launch was attended by Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Health and Social Services, Brian Gibbons and Assembly Member and Chair of the Health and Social Services committee, David Melding.

Helen Oseman, a Hafal client speaking at the launch who has first-hand experience of being treated for mental heath problems stated: “Much more has to be done to address physical well-being, lifestyle, self-management and empowerment for people living with a mental illness.

“It’s not easy living with a mental health illness; no one said it would be. But if more authorities interacted with each of the separate medical professionals that one person comes in to contact with, as suggested in the report, then I think there’s every chance more individuals will feel less stigmatised by their illness, and those that are able to will feel more empowered to manage their lifestyles and well-being.”

The Running on Empty report highlights the fact that people with a mental illness are five times more likely to develop diabetes, and up to twice as likely to get respiratory or cardiovascular disease.

Currently government guidelines state that someone who is being treated for a severe mental illness should be assessed on their physical health – but this study suggests that nearly 9 in 10 people being treated for mental illness have never had a physical health check.

For more information about taking a holistic approach to mental health, see our ‘Whole Person’ approach @ www.mentalhealthwales.net