How Far for Treatment?

79 Kilometres: How Far For Treatment?

A previous assessment, carried out in October 2014, states that the average distance patients had to travel in the UK was 13 miles. However, this has been debunked as several groups situated in several areas have reported that the average is in fact 100 miles. This is a pressing issue, as this indicates that there are not enough facilities to accommodate the public at a convenient distance. Though mental health is often disregarded as an unproven medical science, this does not mean that it should be overlooked. Oftentimes patients with the condition critically pose danger to themselves and everyone around them, having witnessing them at their most vulnerable state.

Mental health charity Mind policy and campaigns head, Vicky Nash stated, “A good support network of family and friends can play a key part in recovery, but if someone is sent far from home, they may be less likely to be visited. We know that bed numbers have been dropping over the last few years, making it harder for people to get the help they need, when and where they need it. It's not acceptable.”

Although this assessment is recent, the issue stems far back, even to two years ago. A particular case in which 24-year-old Gus Deeds was discharged from a Virginia hospital without being properly diagnosed for his illness or receiving any treatment whatsoever was finally highlighted in the news only after, as the police have reported, stabbing his father before killing himself. Hospital beds in psychiatric hospitals have been on a decline even before then. Even patients who explicitly state that they wish to be admitted into a hospital for treatment after feeling strong urges to cause harm to themselves or to other people are denied a bed. 

There is one tragic case in which the mother of a mentally unstable man attempted to get her son admitted into the hospital. He was denied admission and killed himself several days afterwards. The shortage of beds have even caused emergency rooms to simply house patients in waiting rooms or hallways without any treatment whatsoever. This is as large of a problem in rural as well as urban areas. Urban hospitals get far too many cases to handle, and rural hospitals have facilities that are too small or do not offer psychiatric treatment. Such treatment is found far less frequently than any other kind, though mental health is becoming a more widespread issue as more awareness is coming about thanks to increased research in the area.

Though many believe it cannot be proven, psychiatry is an extremely important field of medicine, and illnesses of the mind obviously afflict some people despite dispute from other doctors. This is obviously an issue that must be rectified immediately.


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