British Minister Proposes ‘Dignity’ For Mental Health Victims

by Medindia Content Team on Aug 16 2007 12:34 PM

The "Dignity in Care" campaign for elderly people, which is running successfully, is to be extended to those with mental health needs. This comes as a suggestion by Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis.

Flagged off in November last year, the ‘Dignity in Care’ campaign has since recognized 1000 individuals as "Dignity Champions" – individuals going the extra mile to improve services for older people.

Now the campaign is to be extended to people with mental health needs. Says MP Ivan Lewis: "People experiencing mental health difficulties are amongst the most vulnerable in society.

"We know people fear what they don't understand. Fear can result in discrimination and we know that people with mental health problems are facing discrimination when trying to access public services like healthcare or get support from social services."

The Department of Heath is getting ready to work in partnership with "Moving People", to attack the stigma faced by those with mental health problems, and to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect in the NHS.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, says: "Our research has found people routinely stripped of dignity in the mental health system, even though dignity and self-esteem are essential to recovery from mental ill health.

"People with mental health problems are too often shunned and discriminated against, even in those places which are supposed to be therapeutic and caring.

"Yet being treated with kindness and respect by staff can make all the difference to someone's well-being and esteem, and hasten recovery.”

The new move coincides with a damning report by parliament's joint committee on human rights that warned many older people were still facing maltreatment in hospitals and care homes.

The extension of the campaign will focus on three key areas - tackling stigma, older people's mental health and acute inpatient care. There will also be a program to deliver race equality in mental health services and new programs to give people more choice in the services they receive and greater access to psychological therapies.

While the parliamentary joint committee on human rights, which published today's report on elderly care, stressed that many older people received very high quality care in hospitals and residential care homes, it added that last year, more than three years after national minimum standards for privacy and dignity were introduced, over 20 percent of care homes were still failing to meet them.