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Lancets Report Condemns UKs Mental Health Bill

According to a special report by the Lancet, Britons diagnosed with mental disorders are not been given the care they deserve.

Timed to the release of the Mental Health Bill last week, the report describes as untherapeutic and unsafe' the mental health wards of UK.

Some of the observations include that access to psychological treatments remain "pitiful", despite a ruling by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (Nice) that cognitive behavioral therapy should be available on the NHS. In addition, anxiety and depression in children have risen by 70 per cent in the past 25 years; sure signs that the environment in which they are growing up is becoming more hostile.

The journal also states that one in four people will be affected by mental illness at some point of their life, yet mental health services are the first to be cut when the NHS is in deficit. It adds: "Ultimately, turning the tide of stigma and neglect that faces many people with mental ill-health in the UK will require a substantial shift in public and ministerial attitudes."

A survey by the Department of Health published last week found fewer people in England favor a more tolerant attitude to those with mental illness than in 1994. The Lancet comments: "This opinion is unsurprising. Mental illnesses are not perceived to be as serious as physical ones, by the public and government alike."

According to critics, the Mental Health Bill passed by the House of Commons earlier in July, will trample on the rights of people suffering from mental illness and deter those who need help from seeking it. The reforms (which can include the detention of potentially dangerous patients) followed a public outcry after a series of murders by mentally ill people.

People with psychiatric problems commit around 60 murders per year. Yet according to the Lancet's report, , patients in mental health wards may be in bigger danger than the public.


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