Seven mental health patients took their own lives waiting for NHS beds

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Everglow
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(Original post by BBC News)
Seven mental health patients have killed themselves in England since 2012 after being told there were no hospital beds for them, the BBC has learned.

An investigation of coroners' reports and NHS trust papers with the journal Community Care found another patient denied a bed later killed his mother.

It comes as mental health beds are being cut in England - figures show more than 2100 have gone since 2011.

The NHS England said spending on mental health was increasing in real terms.

The investigation by BBC News and Community Care has also revealed an email that a chief executive of a mental health trust wrote to NHS England in frustration this summer after one of her senior officials came to tell her that: "Yet again there were no mental health beds in London in either the NHS or private sector."

Wendy Wallace, head of Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, bemoaned NHS England's lack of interest in the problem. She wrote: "I could not envisage a situation where all the acute beds in London were full and there was not even an investigation into the situation nor a plan of action."
(Original post by BBC News)
Last year the BBC revealed that 1,711 beds had been closed between April 2011 and August 2013.

New figures, revealed through freedom of information requests from 52 of England's 58 mental health trusts, show that since last August a further 468 beds have been cut.

That means that since April 2011, when there were 18,924 beds available, a total of 2,179 beds have been cut.

Other data from the trusts show that the wards that remain are over-occupied.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30236927

I think this is an extremely concerning issue within the NHS. Mental health is not getting the attention it needs in my opinion, leading to these tragic deaths. These cuts to mental health services really have to stop.
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JessicaLucy09
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Wow.
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Kittiara
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(Original post by Reluire)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30236927

I think this is an extremely concerning issue within the NHS. Mental health is not getting the attention it needs in my opinion, leading to these tragic deaths. These cuts to mental health services really have to stop.
It's shocking, but not surprising. In my area, people with mental health problems can expect to be on a waiting list for therapy for at least a year, and often much longer. In that time, their problems can become a lot worse. And then, if a critical point is reached and no beds are available... this sort of thing can happen.

I always think that if people with physical health problems had to wait a year or more for treatment, the public wouldn't stand for it, but mental health is not taken as seriously. Too many people still think that you should just pull yourself together, or almost see it as a flaw.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Reluire)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30236927

I think this is an extremely concerning issue within the NHS. Mental health is not getting the attention it needs in my opinion, leading to these tragic deaths. These cuts to mental health services really have to stop.
To put it in perspective. There's been seven deaths in a 2 year period out of a population of nearly 70 million..

That's a small number.
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Viva Emptiness
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
To put it in perspective. There's been seven deaths in a 2 year period out of a population of nearly 70 million..

That's a small number.
That's kind of what I thought. Obviously in an ideal world the number would be zero, but something like 7 doesn't really seem to warrant a full-scale investigation and campaign?
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Everglow
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
To put it in perspective. There's been seven deaths in a 2 year period out of a population of nearly 70 million..

That's a small number.
(Original post by Viva Emptiness)
That's kind of what I thought. Obviously in an ideal world the number would be zero, but something like 7 doesn't really seem to warrant a full-scale investigation and campaign?
It's not just about the amount of people who took their lives, though. This is also about the continuous cuts to the mental health services which will probably keep on going unless enough of a fuss is kicked up. I think Kittiara is right when she says this would be a bigger issue if it was physical health as opposed to mental. Mental health still isn't getting the amount of attention and assistance it needs.
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Viva Emptiness
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(Original post by Reluire)
It's not just about the amount of people who took their lives, though. This is also about the continuous cuts to the mental health services which will probably keep on going unless enough of a fuss is kicked up. I think Kittiara is right when she says this would be a bigger issue if it was physical health as opposed to mental. Mental health still isn't getting the amount of attention and assistance it needs.
I agree, it's a farce how mental health cuts are being made, I just thought the number 7 was a bit underwhelming if they want to inspire people to kick up that fuss.
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n00
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(Original post by Viva Emptiness)
That's kind of what I thought. Obviously in an ideal world the number would be zero, but something like 7 doesn't really seem to warrant a full-scale investigation and campaign?
Would you be saying that if people were dying waiting for a bed in any other area of the NHS?

I'm not convinced the figure of 7 gives us the full story. I knew someone that took their life not long ago, they had been refused a bed, does that count as waiting for a bed? They're not on the list. I doubt they would have been refused a bed if inpatient mental health services weren't in such a mess. There must be hundreds that really should be in inpatient care that aren't even getting to the point of waiting for a bed.
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Viva Emptiness
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(Original post by n00)
Would you be saying that if people were dying waiting for a bed in any other area of the NHS?

I'm not conviced the figure of 7 gives us the full story. I knew someone that took their life not long ago, they had been refused a bed, does that count as waiting for a bed? They're not on the list. I doubt they would have been refused a bed if inpatient mental health services weren't in such a mess. There must be hundereds that really should be in inpatient care that aren't even getting to the point of waiting for a bed.
I think I would be. A number not even in double digits from a population of 70 million doesn't really elicit any response from me whatsoever.

Agreed, the numbers are probably way underplayed. I think it would be more useful to include people who had also been refused a bed as well as other people who had also been injured/killed as a result.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Reluire)
It's not just about the amount of people who took their lives, though. This is also about the continuous cuts to the mental health services which will probably keep on going unless enough of a fuss is kicked up. I think Kittiara is right when she says this would be a bigger issue if it was physical health as opposed to mental. Mental health still isn't getting the amount of attention and assistance it needs.
I'd agree that mental health the awareness required but that's changing.

I've found though that a lot of mental health issues can be dealt with by family and friends a lot more quickly and effect my than professional help who all too often have a very formulaic approach at these things.
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Smash Bandicoot
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The mortality rates are probably higher than this report shows, in a similar situation severely disabled and mentally ill people who were denied ESA under the draconian ATOS assessment in association with DWP took their lives-a few thousand I heard. It was reported on something called 'Callum's List', but the website has since been shut down and the government including IDS banned it being searched from Google. You can still search it by typing the misspelt 'calums list' but the site is still down, in fact it now comes up in what I believe to kanji.

Either that or I'm victim of some sick conspiracy theory...
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Smash Bandicoot)
The mortality rates are probably higher than this report shows, in a similar situation severely disabled and mentally ill people who were denied ESA under the draconian ATOS assessment in association with DWP took their lives-a few thousand I heard. It was reported on something called 'Callum's List', but the website has since been shut down and the government including IDS banned it being searched from Google. You can still search it by typing the misspelt 'calums list' but the site is still down, in fact it now comes up in what I believe to kanji.

Either that or I'm victim of some sick conspiracy theory...
You heard wrong I'm afraid. Thousands haven't take. Their own lives.

The reason it doesn't exist on google is because it never happened.
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Liv1204
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It is a very, very difficult situation with beds at the moment. Sussex, for example, has no NHS eating disorder unit. Anyone who needs admission has to go elsewhere - I was admitted to a Priory hospital in the south-east which the NHS funded (and I was very, very fortunate with that, and very grateful to the NHS). I was admitted very quickly, but I know people who have had to wait months for a bed to become available. I know of one person who almost ended up being admitted to a unit in Glasgow because it was the only bed available (although fortunately was admitted to be admitted in the south-east in the end).

One thing we did take part in when I was inpatient though was a focus group discussion with Sussex-based patients, the lead consultant psychiatrist and a lead consultant with SEDCAS (the Severe Eating Disorder service) - discussing the possibility of building an EDU in Sussex, completely from scratch, to increase the number of beds. It hasn't been officially put forward yet, and it would obviously take a long, long time. But I hope one day it can happen.

[Apologies, this is very ED focused as that's where my experience is! But it is the same for mental health beds in general, and it is so difficult].
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