Monday, 28 May 2012

Time to tackle the artificial divide between physical and mental health

The Department of Health Long-Term Conditions Strategy website has regular article contributions, and the one from Sean Duggan is particularly interesting. He discusses the interaction between mental and physical health in relation to patients with long-term conditions.

"What is less widely acknowledged, and certainly less well managed, is that some 4.6 million people have both [mental and physical conditions] at the same time."

He points out the fact that "depression and anxiety are significantly more common among people with a range of long term physical illnesses" and gives evidence for the negative impact that mental health conditions can have on physical health outcomes. This is a really important point to have made - there is an interplay between mental health and physical health, which we don't fully understand yet, but know exists enough to warrant attention!

As a solution to the problems of a physical/mental divide, Sean Duggan suggests "collaborative care arrangements between primary care and mental health services, including psychological therapies, can improve the quality of support people receive at little extra cost to the NHS." A fantastic well written argument with some excellent points!

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