Health Service Focus

02.10.19

Mind calls for further GP training to better inform over mental health medication side effects

Mental health charity, Mind, have found in their annual survey that people are being prescribed medication for mental health issues without being told of the side effects.

In response, the charity is calling for more mental health training to be made available for GPs.

Mind’s Big Mental Health Survey, asks people currently battling with mental health issues to disclose experiences of care and services they have received.

More than 12,000 participants found that, when prescribed new medication, only 21% said that they were definitely given an explanation about the potential side effects.

It showed that 50% of people didn’t receive enough information about the purpose of any new medication.

More than 40% of all doctors’ appointments are related to mental health, yet GPs receive no mandatory, practise-based training.

Less than half of all GPs who finished their training in 2017 completed an optional psychiatry placement.

Mind wants GPS to have a wide range of training available to them, ensuring they have the confidence to provide quality support for those struggling with mental health.

Millions of people in the UK are currently being treated for mental health issues with medication, a number of whom report experiencing side effects more severe than the original problems they were hoping to treat.

Medications include, antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilisers. Potential side effects of antidepressants include, decreased alertness, sexual problems and mania.

Part of The NHS Long Term Plan is providing funding to improve mental health services and should result in GPs having more access to mental health training in order to refer patients to a wider variety of treatments beyond medication.

Mind’s Director of External Relations, Sophie Corlett, says: “Our research revealed that a worrying number of us are receiving life changing treatment without fully understanding what it involves. This has got to change.

“GPs do an extremely difficult job often under inadequate time restraints. But, with GPs often the first port of call for mental health support, it’s crucial they have the opportunity to get the training they need to support patients to have the information to make decisions about their treatment.”

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