Self-harm by mental health patients has risen

  • Pressure from staff and budget cutbacks are two of the reason Labour says explain the rise in self-harm and suicide attempts.

    New NHS figures reveal a growing number of people being treated in mental health units are harming themselves and trying to take their own lives. /images/mentalhealth.jpg

    Labour, which obtained the figures under freedom of information laws, linked the increase to cuts in the number of doctors and nurses working in mental health units and their budgets, reports the Guardian.

    "Mental health services have been squeezed year on year, the number of specialist doctors and nurses has dropped and there aren't enough beds to meet demand. The pressure this is putting on mental health wards is intolerable", said Luciana Berger, the shadow public health minister, who obtained the figures.

    "It is unacceptable that people in touch with mental health services may not be getting the support they need. They are some of the most vulnerable patients in our NHS", she added.

    The largest increases were in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, which saw incidents rise from 2,008 to 33,746.

    Mark Winstanley, chief executive of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said the findings were clear evidence of the marked deterioration of mental health services, because of disproportionate funding cuts imposed over the past two years. "The hollowing-out of early intervention and cutbacks in community support services are leading to people ending up in inpatient care after becoming much more seriously ill because they haven't been helped thoroughly or quickly enough in the first place", he added.

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