How can mental health research help patients and reduce NHS costs?

July 25, 2013
How can mental health research help patients and reduce NHS costs?

Leading academics and clinicians met at the University of Reading yesterday (Tuesday 23 July) to discuss the links between physical and mental health and how the latest mental health research could help patients in all parts of the NHS.

Physical illness is frequently complicated by poor mental health. For example, patients with diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer may also be depressed. Untreated this co-occurrence of conditions can affect quality of life, result in poorer medical outcomes, and increase medical costs.

Doctors and mental health experts from across the Thames Valley, Chilterns, and South Midlands came together at the University of Reading to discuss how research could provide some answers.

The Mental and Physical Health Interface event was organised by the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and sponsored by the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), of which the University of Reading is a founding member.

This showcase event was the first of its kind since the Oxford AHSN was designated. It was designed to kick-start future collaboration and highlight innovative clinical and research projects across the region. Speakers included the new National Clinical Director for Mental Health, Dr Geraldine Strathdee, and Professor of Psychological Medicine at Oxford, Professor Michael Sharpe.

Dr Laurie Butler, head of the University of Reading's School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, said university-based research could help to make a huge difference to patients within the NHS.

"Very often the NHS is excellent at treating physical conditions, but can sometimes struggle to link patients up with mental health support if they develop related mental health problems," he said.

"For example, patients with long-running or serious illnesses, such as , are twice as likely to experience depression as the general population. Similarly, up to half of suffer from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Depression is also frequently experienced by patients with dementia and their carers.

"Through our existing partnerships with the NHS, and with expertise in research and training in the area of mental health, the University of Reading is well-placed to try and help tackle this problem. Finding solutions will not be easy, but the prize is worth it - saving millions of pounds in wasted resources and helping patients get the health services they really need."

Explore further: Supporting children of mental health patients

Related Stories

Supporting children of mental health patients

July 12, 2013
A study in Norway has found that health professionals caring for people with mental illness have difficulty providing follow-up services to the children of these patients. The law in the country has changed to mandate follow-up ...

Ethnic inequalities in mental health care prompt call for review

July 15, 2013
Individual ethnic groups use psychiatric and mental health services in Scotland very differently, a study suggests.

Missed opportunities to help smokers with mental illness

March 27, 2013
Although smoking prevalence has declined in the United Kingdom over recent decades, it has changed little among people with mental health disorders, remaining substantially higher than the national average. Yet a study published ...

Use of acronyms potentially confusing in mental health, study shows

July 23, 2013
Use of abbreviations is common among mental health professionals but a significant number of acronyms used are either ambiguous or poorly understood by nursing staff, a study has found.

Physical health problems substantially increase use of mental health services, study shows

July 17, 2012
People who experience a physical health problem, from diabetes and back pain to cancer or heart disease, are three times more likely to seek mental health care than patients who report having no physical ailment, according ...

Integrating mental health care: New series

April 30, 2013
The first article in a landmark series to help health care workers and providers, donors, and decision makers understand the importance of including mental health care in global health programs is being published in this ...

Recommended for you

Depression changes structure of the brain, study suggests

July 21, 2017
Changes in the brain's structure that could be the result of depression have been identified in a major scanning study.

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.