Analysing and tuning into mental health
As part of our work designing a vision for better urgent and emergency care, we’re focused on working with people who have mental health needs. We’ve been looking to understand how these individuals access care in an urgent or emergency context and where digital can help.
90% of adults with mental health conditions are supported solely by their GP or primary care service (Royal College of General Practitioners, 2017). Healthwatch (2019) found that people want GPs to be able to diagnose and treat a wider range of mental health conditions while being treated with dignity and respect by all staff.
The contextual and reflective interviews we did with patients and staff in both rural and urban areas confirmed this and provided additional insights.
We found themes of wanting to be understood, needing someone to talk to urgently during moments of self-doubt and crisis, lack of specialist services (especially in rural areas) and difficulty getting GP urgent appointments. The people we spoke to often relied on 111 or 999/ A&E when in crisis or need of urgent support. The serious and episodic nature of some mental health conditions, combined with long waiting times for specialist care complicates the way that people can seek care when they need it urgently.
The insights we gained included:
GP services are not always able to support patients with mental health issues in the way that they need, as soon as they need it and where they need it.